Time for government to show they are serious about homelessness - Home Sweet Home

The occupiers of Apollo House are meeting with the housing minister Simon Coveney this evening to discuss the housing crisis

Time for government to show they are serious about homelessness - Home Sweet Home

Supporters of Home Sweet Home speaking to the media ahead of a meeting with Minister for Housing Simon Coveney, 06/01/2017. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Representatives of the Home Sweet Home movement have said it is time to find out “whether the government are serious or not” about addressing the homelessness crisis.

The occupiers of Apollo House are meeting with the housing minister Simon Coveney this evening to discuss possible ways to bring an end to the occupation - and the housing emergency facing the country.

More than 40 people have been sleeping at Apollo House for the past number of weeks after the group occupied the building in an effort to provide shelter for the homeless.

The group has been ordered by a judge to leave the building by next Wednesday, January 11th.

Yesterday, they issued a list of demands they want fulfilled before the will consider leaving - including a call for the Minister of Finance, Michael Noonan to compel NAMA to turn over empty buildings for social housing.

Other items on the list included the provision of private rooms in emergency accommodation, and for all emergency beds to be offered on a six-month basis.

On the way into the meeting this evening, spokesman for the group, Brendan Ogle said following weeks of debate, the group is looking forward to hearing what the government has to offer.

“We are about to find out whether the government are serious or not,” he said. “We are about to find out whether the government are prepared to do what this movement and I think what the people of Ireland want and take the new steps - the necessary steps - that are within their capability to address this crisis.”

NAMA Owned Properties

At the release of its annual review yesterday, NAMA said it had originally inherited 332 unfinished housing estates.

It said it had finished 2016 with 25 left on its books and claimed, "the remaining 25 will be resolved during 2017."

It said it had delivered 2,378 houses and apartments spread across 167 individual projects and 19 counties.

The agency said it had identified 6,941 homes for social housing since 2012.

In Dublin's docklands alone, NAMA-appointed receivers and debtors have the potential to deliver 3.8 million square feet of commercial space and 2,000 homes.

In an open letter delivered to the Minister for Finance on Tuesday they group said only 10% of the 20,000 homes NAMA is planning to build over the next three years will be allocated as social housing.

They said the agency is focused on turning a profit instead of tackling the homelessness crisis. 

Home Sweet Home’s Freda Hughes said the group is looking forward to hearing what the minister has to say but warned it is time NAMA made, “a meaningful contribution towards social housing in this country and towards ending the current housing and homelessness crisis.”

"We want to hear what he has to say and to ensure the needs of the residents here are met, first and foremost," she said.