Saturday 24 September 2016

'Every month, that’s another month out of my child’s childhood' - homeless campaigner begs parties to form government

Published 13/04/2016 | 23:25

HOMELESS campaigner Erica Fleming has expressed her frustration at the slow pace of government talks amid the ongoing housing crisis.

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The Dubliner told Independent.ie she fears that politicians will “sit around for another 40 days talking” as more people lose their homes.

Ms Fleming, who has been in temporary accommodation living in a hotel with her daughter Emily for several months, was speaking after a meeting with Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

The young mum has brought her campaign to Leinster House where TDs are scheduled to discuss housing in the Dáil tomorrow.

He said she told Mr Martin that there should be an increase in rent allowance and that “voids” – vacant and boarded up social housing, should be refurbished and opened up within six months.

Ms Fleming said her meeting with Mr Martin was positive and that they agreed on a number of issues.

Read More: RTE's 'My Homeless Family' shows reality of raising a family in a hotel is 'far from luxury'

She said the homeless crisis is “a national emergency” and that she believes TDs need to “just come together - put their political differences aside for the good of the nation, for the good of our people and get this sorted.”

“At the end of it all I want action. We can talk about this till we blue in the face but as I said to him everyday that goes by, every week, every month. That’s another month out of my child’s childhood.”

Mr Martin described the meeting with Ms Fleming as “productive”.

"I listened closely to Erica and her experience of trying to find a home for a family. It is a story that far too many families will find familiar.”

He claimed that the last government “dropped the ball on housing” and said that the issue “needs proper attention”.

“I made it clear to her that Fianna Fáil is pushing for an immediate increase in the rent allowance and that all restrictions on fixing voids need to be lifted immediately.

“It was a productive meeting with Erica and I'm grateful to her for sharing her story," Mr Martin said.

Ms Fleming came to prominence earlier this year in RTÉ documentary 'My Homeless Family'.

 

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