Bacik urges Minister to publish an Emergency Housing for All Strategy

Ivana Bacik TD
23 August 2023

In anticipation of the publication of July’s homelessness figures by the Department of Housing this Friday (25th August), Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD has urged Minister O’Brien to implement an emergency Housing for All strategy ahead of the winter months.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The systemic failings in housing have been well documented. Last month, over 12,600 people were recorded as living in homelessness, but this does not take into account those living in hidden homelessness, couch surfing, or indeed the two thirds of young people who are still living at home with their parents.

“No fault evictions are driving the explosion in homelessness. Last week, the Residential Tenancies Board reported that 5,735 notices of termination were issued between April 2023 and the end of June, an increase of 20% on the first quarter.

“Of those, almost two thirds came because landlords are opting to sell rather than keep the property on the market. We need to serious address this failing in our housing system and find a way to keep people in their homes, even when a landlord is selling up.

“The decision to lift the eviction ban, with no evidence basis or meaningful contingency plan, has only compounded the need for real measures. An emergency plan must be enacted.

“Labour has called for the introduction of a Winter Truce, an eviction ban for the winter months to protect those vulnerable to entering homelessness.

“When the eviction ban was lifted in April, the Government promised its silver bullet – a first refusal scheme for renters whose landlords are selling up. We’ve yet to see any detailed plan on this, and indeed, we know that most renters simply wouldn’t have the bandwidth to save for a mortgage whilst forking out money on unaffordable rents.

“In response to parliamentary questions from me, the Minister for Housing was incapable of explaining if properties offered to tenants would be offered at market-rate, or if second refusal would be offered to local authorities.

“We in Labour reiterate our call on the Minister for Housing to urgently pass Labour’s Renters Rights Bill, which would end no-fault evictions and bring in additional measures to guarantee security and affordability for all. Even the Conservative Party in Britain has taken the plunge and announced plans to end no-fault evictions.

“The time for hand wringing and weasel words of sympathy is over. July’s homelessness update must be coupled with an emergency plan to tackle Ireland’s greatest crisis.”

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