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Monday 19 August 2019

'Risk we'll accept homelessness as normal'

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Homelessness organisations warned against complacency as they fear increases in the number of people in emergency accommodation will make the public believe the issue cannot be solved.

They said failure to deliver social housing means families are being left to cope in unbearable circumstances, as the homeless figures reached 10,378 last month.

While the number of families seeking support in April decreased by four and there were 27 fewer children being helped by homelessness service providers, overall figures show the problem got worse for the fourth successive month. An extra 100 adults sought help from housing authorities.

Merchants Quay Ireland, a national homelessness and addiction charity, said the country must "reject the idea that the homeless crisis is a problem that cannot be solved".

Its chief executive Paula Byrne said the latest homeless figures did not include details of the latest rough sleeper count, which shows a further 128 people homeless in Dublin. She said the Government must change its approach.

"With each increase in the homeless figures Ireland risks accepting the level of homelessness in this country as normality. We should not forget that this crisis can be solved."

Barnardos yesterday highlighted a need for more social housing, saying children find themselves living in unsuitable living conditions. "The practicalities of doing homework are particularly challenging with no space to write or read quietly. Social development is impacted," Barnardos chief executive Suzanne Connolly said.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the figures were "very disappointing" but insisted the Government was tackling the problem. "Family homelessness continues to be very challenging, particularly in the Dublin area," he added.

"So far this year, we have exited more than 320 families out of emergency accommodation into a home, which is some progress, but clearly, we need to do a lot more."

Irish Independent

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