Wednesday 28 September 2016

Government has been 'essentially silent' on lack of emergency housing, says Focus Ireland

David Kearns

Published 02/09/2016 | 02:30

From left: CEO of Focus Ireland Ashley Balbirnie, Sr Stan, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, and Focus Ireland chairperson Gerry Danaher at the launch of the Focus Ireland Annual Report at the charity's housing development in Stanhope Green Photo: Robbie Reynolds
From left: CEO of Focus Ireland Ashley Balbirnie, Sr Stan, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, and Focus Ireland chairperson Gerry Danaher at the launch of the Focus Ireland Annual Report at the charity's housing development in Stanhope Green Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Housing Minister Simon Coveney received a frosty reception as he launched Focus Ireland's Annual Report on homelessness.

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The charity did not hold back in its criticism of the Government's Action Plan to tackle the mounting homeless crisis.

Addressing the minister directly, the group's chairperson Gerry Danaher said there was little in the plan to cut the numbers of families losing their homes.

"We all know that affordable housing supply is at the heart of the homeless crisis that blights the lives of so many," he said.

"At present, the only firm commitment in the action plan is to eliminate the use of hotel rooms and provide better emergency accommodation though 'rapid build' housing. This is welcome but even the best emergency accommodation is not a home."

The charity said the Government's Action Plan was "essentially silent" on the matter of families at risk of being left without an offer of emergency accommodation.

The group added it was increasingly working "up to midnight" to find accommodation for families in Dublin city.

Last year, 12,500 people were helped by the charity, a near 10pc rise on 2014.

Responding to the criticism, Mr Coveney admitted the Government could have, and should have, done more to tackle homelessness in the past five years.

Irish Independent

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