WATCH: Martin King presents the 'Homeless Forecast' - aimed at getting Government attention for housing crisis
Simon Communities launch Homeless Forecast Campaign and Pre Budget Submission 2016
The Simon Communities in Ireland have launched a campaign featuring TV3 Weatherman Martin King, aimed at getting the government's attention over the worsening housing crisis.
The Simon Communities in Ireland have launched a public letter as part of the campaign and are asking the public to add their signatures to get the homeless crisis to the forefront of the Government agenda.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, expressed concern that the Government response to the situation is 'inadequate'.
Speaking about the campaign, she said that homeless people are being "failed time and time again by the state".
"It is unacceptable to expect people in emergency shelters or sleeping rough now to wait two years to have a place to call home. People need homes now".
"Significant and urgent Government action is required. This crisis requires a whole of Government response".
Supporters of the campaign can add their name to the letter at www.simonhomelessforecast.ie, which will be sent to the Taoiseach and Tanaiste demanding that they push the issue to the "top of the agenda".
"Budget 2016 is a critical budget for this Government. It is a budget where the Government must act now on their commitment to end long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough. We are calling for immediate action on four fronts – homeless prevention and early intervention; rapid rehousing using a housing first approach; access to affordable housing; and adequate support for people once in housing.”
“The Simon Communities see the devastating impact of rising rents and reduced housing supply everyday - people on low incomes and those in receipt of rent supplement can no longer afford rental payments".
"Rent supplement levels must be increased, along with the introduction of rent certainty measures for tenants. Rent supplement levels have remained unchanged since June 2013, yet in the following two years, prices in the private rented sector increased by 20.3pc".
" There are 90,000 people on the social housing waiting list and Government social housing commitments, if on target, will only meet the housing needs of 17% of them. For the State to say to people that there is no prospect of getting a home any time soon is just not good enough".
“Emergency accommodation is not the answer to homelessness".
“We know from experience that the solution to long-term homelessness is making sure people can find a home as quickly as possible, and that they have all the support services they need to stay in that home. This Housing First approach is working in Simon Communities all around the country.”
The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 people and families who experience - or are at risk of - homelessness on an annual basis.
The Simon Communities also launched their Pre-Budget Submission ‘Changing the forecast – addressing the homeless and housing crisis.’
· There are currently 3,285 adults in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, 657 families and 1,383 children. (DECLG, July 2015)
· During one night in March 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City. This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 people sheltering at the Nite Café. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. (DRHE 2015) Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).
· In December 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork winding down since March 31st).
· In December the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.
· Rent in the private rented sector increased by 20.3% from Jul 2013 –Jul 2015 (daft.ie).