Sunday 20 January 2019

Repossessions will only accelerate as housing crisis worsens, warns Sr Stan

 

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has called for more government action. Photo: Robbie Reynolds
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy has called for more government action. Photo: Robbie Reynolds

Sarah MacDonald

Homelessness campaigner Sister Stanislaus Kennedy has warned that evictions like in Strokestown, Co Roscommon, may be repeated elsewhere as the housing crisis worsens.

According to Sr Stanislaus, one of the primary causes of homelessness is eviction in the private rented sector by landlords who want to sell their properties. When asked about the eviction in Strokestown, Sr Stanislaus says she is "certain" we will see similar incidents around the country.

She would also like to see stronger legislation to secure the rights of tenants.

"The local authorities need to verify the reasons and run a very strong awareness campaign setting out the penalties for false reasons for eviction," she said.

Although Focus Ireland has asked the Government for a specific family homelessness strategy, "given the scale of the problem", that has yet to materialise, she said.

The social justice campaigner, who will turn 80 next year, suggested the detachment of decision-makers results in a lack of "fire in their bellies" to see through the radical change she believes is needed.

Sr Stanislaus wondered if those in positions of power truly understand that there are small children growing up in bed and breakfasts and hotels. "Do they get the fact that there are single youngsters of 18 years of age who are going to be homeless for years?" she asked.

She believes the Government is only now beginning to recognise one of the roots of the homeless crisis has been the policy of successive governments to leave the provision of social housing to the market, rather than to local authorities.

"Many people are responsible for what happened. Everybody is responsible and if everybody is responsible - then nobody is responsible. Those in Government now have to grasp the nettle and say whoever put it wrong, it is wrong now under my watch and we have to put it right."

She stressed that the Christmas season was particularly difficult for families living long term in emergency accommodation.

Irish Independent

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