Charities picking up pieces from Government housing failure

Ivana Bacik TD
19 October 2023

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has urged Government to develop a winter homelessness plan to tackle the massive increase in homelessness that has resulted since the lifting of the eviction ban.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have utterly failed to grasp the crisis in housing. Month on month, we see the numbers of people living in homelessness increase. Government continue to shirk its responsibility and rely instead on the work of voluntary organisations and charities, like Merchants Quay Ireland.

“NGOs cannot be expected to continue to pick up all the pieces. According to Merchant’s Quay Ireland’s annual report, there was a 112% increase in those who presented themselves as homeless in the previous year.

“As well as helping people in insecure housing, Merchants Quay Ireland also helped over 3,800 people through its harm reduction team, with 114 people admitted to detox and rehab services.

“This illustrates the failure of the hands-off approach taken by this Government when it comes to housing, and when it comes to drugs policy.

“Labour is urging the Minister to develop an emergency homelessness plan for the winter months ahead to protect those in insecure housing. We also reiterate our calls to develop a more compassionate approach to addiction in Ireland, moving away from criminalisation.

“We know that having a criminal record can be a barrier to accessing housing, employment, relationships and can end up doing more harm to the individual than their drug use.

“Government must learn from charities and NGOs like Merchant Quay Ireland and develop a progressive approach to tackling the crises of our time.”

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