Thursday 29 September 2016

Government spends €32k a year for every homeless person

Philip Ryan and Daniel McConnell

Published 24/08/2015 | 02:30

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly

The Government is spending at least €32,000 a year for every homeless person.

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The Department of the Environment and local authorities will spend around €70m on hotel rooms and emergency accommodation for homeless people this year.

An estimated €50m will be spent buying houses which will be used to house families who currently do not have a home.

These figures do not include the amount of funding spent on homelessness by the Department of Social Protection and the HSE, which would increase the amount spent per person.

There are almost 4,600 homeless people seeking accommodation across the country, according to the most recently available figures.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has ordered a review of how homeless charities spend State funding, which is due to begin shortly.

The review will seek to determine if funding allocations are being spent in the right areas and resources are being maximised in an attempt to address the escalating homeless crisis.

"The agencies are a very important part of tackling the problem but there is quite a lot of them and there is a huge amount of money being spent, so we want to make sure it is being well spent," a senior government source said.

"It is very complex, but with the amount of money being spent you could house everyone in Ballsbridge," the source added.

The increasing number of homeless people forced to live in emergency accommodation and hotels is becoming a huge problem for the Government, especially the Labour Party.

The Government has pledged major investment in social housing in the coming months and it is hoping that this will go some way to addressing the problem in the run-up to the general election.

Meanwhile, it has also emerged that some charities are not drawing down funding available to them from the Housing Finance Agency. The agency has funding which it can lend to homeless charities to rent or buy social housing.

Just five out of the 13 approved charities have applied for funding.

It was reported yesterday that two of the country's biggest charities, Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust, have not applied for funding.

Irish Independent

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