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Budget 2013: Charity Focus Ireland says families face ‘tipping point’

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan

FAMILIES face a "tipping point" in the coming Budget unless the Government introduces specific measures to protect the vulnerable.

Charity Focus Ireland says the Government should invest €400m next year building social housing in the capital to help create jobs and reduce homelessness.

In a pre-Budget submission, the charity says repeated cuts to funding have pushed families and single people to the brink of homelessness.

And the continued failure to provide affordable housing means that many are forced to remain living in temporary accommodation which is both unsuitable to their needs and which can cost the State €30,000 a year.

“Rising unemployment and cuts to some welfare supports have pushed many people even deeper into debt,” spokesman Mike Allen said.

“We are already seeing more people than ever seeking Focus Ireland’s support as they are at risk of losing – or have already lost - their accommodation purely for economic reasons as they are drowning in debt.”

The charity helped 7,500 people last year - 1,000 more than in 2010.

Numbers are up 18pc so far this year.

Among the proposals are:

- A €400m boost to capital funding to build social housing in Dublin.

- No further cuts in Department of Environment or HSE funding for homeless services.

- No further cuts to Rent Supplement limits.

- Maintain social welfare payments for people of working age.

- Ensure that family and child income supports are not reduced for low income families.

Focus Ireland also said the previous cuts had forced people into homelessness.

Reductions in rent supplement limits meant some people were forced into temporary accommodation because they could not secure a home under the reduced limits.