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Thursday 22 August 2019

Number of long-term homeless up 66pc, says charity

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Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Long-term homelessness has jumped by two-thirds since the launch of the Rebuilding Ireland plan, the Simon Communities has revealed.

On the third anniversary of the Government initiative to tackle Ireland's housing shortage, the charity has called on the Government to commit to a major roll-out of affordable rental accommodation.

It acquired figures that show there has been a 57pc increase in homelessness since Rebuilding Ireland's launch in 2016, from 6,525 people in July 2016 to 10,253 in May this year.

It says it is particularly concerned at the 66pc increase in long-term adult homelessness since 2016.

Wayne Stanley, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said it has taken stock of the successes and limitations of Rebuilding Ireland.

"Dealing with this crisis requires two clear actions from the State that recognise the sea-change that is needed in public housing provision," he said. "Firstly, it is now so clear that the State must begin planning for the provision of an additional 20,000 affordable cost rental homes around the country over the next five years.

"We acknowledge the progress in this area, including the setting up of the Land Development Agency, the engagement with the European Investment Bank and the development of pilot schemes.

"It is now imperative that we move forward with implementation at the scale required across the country. Let's see the Government identify the sites, set the targets by year end and meet them," he said.

The Irish Independent recently reported that just over €16m of the €195m allocated to the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund has been drawn down since it was announced in 2016.

The fund, which forms a core part of the Government's Rebuilding Ireland policy, saw 30 major public infrastructure projects receive final approval to facilitate the delivery of almost 20,000 new homes.

However, to date just 814 homes have been built, according to Department of Housing data.

Irish Independent

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