Tuesday 16 January 2018

€46m will be spent on hotel bills for homeless people this year - Housing Minister

Simon Coveney. Photo: Mark Condren
Simon Coveney. Photo: Mark Condren
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

The taxpayer will spend €46m on hotel bills for homeless people, the newly appointed housing minister has said.

Minister Simon Coveney reiterated the Government's commitment to building 35,000 homes by 2020 to fix what he described as “a national emergency”.

“We will spend €46m on hotel bills for families who don’t have homes… That is not right. Families should not be living in hotels.”

“We can find and we will find ways of providing more suitable accommodation for families that are homeless.”

“I intend on taking on this issue with the appropriate seriousness that it needs.”

“It is a national emergency, particularly in Dublin,” he told RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke.

Mr Coveney said he will meet with Focus Ireland and Dublin’s Simon Community today, while he already discussed the issue of bedsit accommodation with Fr Peter McVerry.

He said if bedsits are to be made available for people in emergency homeless accommodation, there must be a balance between appropriate standards and the need.

“I met Fr Peter McVerry last night and we were talking about this issue. Many bedsits were not appropriate for people.”

“There are many single homeless people who would be very happy to have bedsits as an alternative to accommodation in hostels.”

Mr Coveney said the Government is committed to building 35,000 new social housing units by 2020.

“First of all, we need to make it happen. A lot of people have heard that figure, but they don’t believe it.”

“We will have all of the chief executives of the local authorities in to meet me tomorrow and I’m going to talk through the money they need available.”

“If necessary I’ll be encouraging them to use the emergency powers they have to effectively fast track the planning system.”

“We need to build homes quickly”

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