Monday 16 July 2018

Homelessness crisis worsening

Olivia Ryan

The worsening homelessness crisis saw an increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation across Louth, according to new figures from the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government which were released this week.

The statistics show that across the north east in January there were 155 people in emergency accommodation, with the vast majority (147) in Louth.

Louth TD Gerry Adams responded to the latest figures, saying 'the significant increase in the number of adults who are homeless in Louth and the North East as a source of deep concern and clear evidence of the government's failure to effectively tackle the homelessness scandal.'

'One year ago in January 2017, there were 121 adults accessing local authority emergency accommodation in the North East. Of those 117 were in Louth, one in Monaghan and three in Cavan.

The figures for January 2018 show a dramatic increase. There are now 155 adults accessing emergency accommodation. Of these, 147 are in Louth, five in Monaghan, and three in Cavan.

'There has also been a substantial increase in the number of dependants in homelessness in the North East. In January 2017, there were 16 families, six of whom were single parents and 24 dependants (children) in emergency accommodation.

'One year later, the numbers have surged. There are now 52 families homeless, of whom 31 are single parents, and a total of 101 dependants (children).'

'As we face into a severe weather situation, it is important that we look beyond the statistics and see the men and women and children, who are affected by government failure on housing.

He added: 'Across the state, there is now a record number of adults and children living in emergency accommodation.'

'In January 2017, there were 4760 adults in emergency accommodation and 2407 children. A year later those numbers have jumped to 5837 adults and 3,267 children. That means 9,104 people are homeless which is an increase of 30% since January 2017.'

This is the unacceptable face of government policy. Its housing strategy is simply not working. And the situation is getting worse.

'Action is needed, for example, to confront landlords issuing vacant possession notices to quit when selling their property.

A greater effort is required to purchase turnkey homes, not for sale on the open market, to get families out of emergency accommodation.

He added:'The government also needs to adopt far more ambitious Housing First targets. Under Rebuilding Ireland, only 200 additional Housing First tenancies have been created.'

Without a fundamental change in government housing policy, the upward trend of the housing crisis is likely to continue.'

The Argus