Seminar at European Parliament to examine homelessness crisis

Members of the High Hopes Choir are in Brussels to perform and attend the seminar

Seminar at European Parliament to examine homelessness crisis

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A seminar at the European Parliament today will discuss Ireland's homelessness crisis.

Department of Housing figures show there were almost 2,500 children homeless in January, alongside more than 4,700 adults.

The gathering in Brussels today will review the situation across Europe.

Attendees will hear that Ireland has the fastest rate of families becoming homeless within the EU.

One of those due to speak to delegates is Focus Ireland's Mike Allen.

Speaking ahead of the event, he argued: "To properly invest in social housing... [we need to] actually go out and build it ourselves. Get local authorities to build the housing, rather than depend on private developers to build it and then buy it from them.

"One of the things that's holding us back from doing that is the European Union rules about level of government debt and so on," he added.


Representatives of the High Hopes Choir - set up by conductor David Brophy to help people affected by homelessness - are also attending, and last night the choir performed in Brussels.

Five Irish MEPs worked together to bring the group to Brussels, with a statement from Marian Harkin describing it as an "expression of respect for what they have achieved and to support a new approach towards tackling problems arising from homelessness and addiction in Ireland and throughout the EU".