Housing Minister says more time needed to turn the tide on homelessness

Sinn Féin deputy leader calls for rent certainty as figures show more than 1,000 families are now homeless in Dublin

Housing Minister says more time needed to turn the tide on homelessness

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The Minister for Housing has said it will take time to turn the tide on homelessness following the release of the latest figures on the crisis.

Yesterday it emerged that the number of homeless families in Dublin had surpassed 1,000 for the first time ever.

A total of 736 families have become homeless in Dublin this year alone.

Nationally, a record figure of 6,709 people - including 2,426 children - are living in state funded emergency or temporary accommodation.

Housing Minister, Simon Coveney said the figures “are a reminder of the significant challenge we face in tackling the homeless crisis.”

“Since Rebuilding Ireland was launched in July, we’ve made sustained efforts to deliver the plan’s objectives in relation to addressing homelessness,” he said.

“I have said that it will take time to turn the tide on homelessness for both families and individuals.”

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the government's record on homelessness is "abysmal" and called for the introduction of rent certainty to deal with the crisis.

She said there are, "thousands of other citizens and families who live in absolute fear of hikes in their rent that might push them into homelessness."

“Despite all the talk of understanding the situation and high profile launches, Minister Simon Coveney, like Alan Kelly before him, is failing to take the urgent action required to keep people in their homes and provide housing for those trapped in emergency accommodation," she said.

“What we need are solutions now. Not one more family and not one more child should be made homeless.

 

"The government must commit to the single biggest step they could take that would stop people falling into homelessness and that is rent certainty linked to the Consumer Price Index.”

 

A statement from the Department of Housing said an extra €28m in resources for tackling homelessness has been set aside for 2017.

“We will have more than 300 rapid delivery homes under construction by year end,” said Minister Coveney.

“Multiple initiatives to bring vacant properties into use are underway with both the Housing Agency and local authorities.

"We are focused on accelerating delivery of the strategy which is just three months old in order to make a measurable impact on homelessness."

The department said the Rebuilding Ireland strategy aims to address the unacceptable level of families in emergency accommodation and to end the reliance on commercial hotels - except in very limited circumstances - by mid-2017.