Wednesday 22 May 2019

A generation will be lost to homelessness

The homelessness situation in Ireland shows no sign of improving
The homelessness situation in Ireland shows no sign of improving

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Complaints raised by homeless people in relation to emergency accommodation this week detail deplorable conditions including bed bugs, rodent infestations, violence and drug abuse.

The complaints detailed, were raised between 2017 and 2018 so the reality is that the situation is not getting any better.

A staggering 6,048 adults and 3,824 children were placed in emergency accommodation in June of this year, and there is just no way that these people will be afforded any sort of long term social housing in the near future. These figures don't even include the many more who are living with relatives as they cannot secure a home of their own. More than ever before, professional people who were able to pay their monthly rent for many years are now being forced into homelessness due to the lack of private housing and therefore are joining the list for council properties.

People are being asked to pay more for a monthly rental property than they would if they had a mortgage, and yet there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for them. If a two income or even one income family cannot afford to rent in many parts of the country, then how can the unemployed or single parents be expected to afford it?

There's a pretty damaging attitude in some sections of society that 'beggars can't be choosers' and that those who seek emergency housing should take whatever they get. The people who have made these complaints did take what they were offered and they found used needles and rodent droppings within.

It's not much of a choice when faced with the streets or a filthy and potentially unsafe hotel or B&B room. This is not acceptable and for those who are warm and cosy inside their own homes to suggest that it is are seriously out of touch.

There will always be people to expect the State to provide everything for them, who genuinely do not want to work and who will take whatever benefits come their way, but these people are the minority. No family wants to raise their children in a hotel room, or face that stigma that goes with it and if this is the only option they are given, they should at the very least be accommodated in a safe and clean space. The wheels are moving so slowly here, that an entire generation of some families are spending their childhood in this way and it's just not good enough.