Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.48 1 Mar 2020


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The housing and homeless charity Focus Ireland has called for action to help the more than 3,500 children who are homeless here.

It has launched a five-point plan to tackle the homeless crisis.

It is calling for politicians to show more urgency in forming a new government.

It also wants to see a referendum to put stronger housing rights in the Constitution.

"Focus Ireland believes that a referendum to re-balance the right to private property with an explicit 'right to housing' is a crucial step in removing barriers to tackling our housing and homelessness crisis", it says.

Recent figures show the number of people homeless has risen to over 10,000 again.

The number of people recorded as homeless dipped below 10,000 in December, before rising again in January.

The charity said that the over 3,500 children who are homeless "do not have time to wait" as their childhoods are "being stolen every day."

The plan includes demands for a commitment to build 35,000 homes each year over the next five years.

It also wants the next government to establish a Commission on Housing.

It says: "This commission would work along the lines of the approach taken by Sláintecare, where all parties have signed up to an agreed policy approach to ensure consistency and more effective action to tackle the crisis in healthcare.

"Focus Ireland believes a similar approach is required to ensure consensus in how best to end the housing and homelessness crisis."

Four young people - Josh Kelly (17), his cousin Sam (13), Ava O'Donnell (11) and her sister Teaghan (9) - called on all TDs to make tackling this crisis their priority when they return to the Dáil this week.

Josh Kelly says: "We are doing this today to stand in solidarity with all the children who are homeless.

"During the election campaign all the political parties were saying that the housing and homelessness crisis is the main issue that needs to be solved.

"We want to deliver a message to all politicians that it is totally unacceptable and wrong that over 3,500 children are homeless."

11-year-old Ava O'Donnell says: "It is really horrible to think that over 3,500 children who are homeless don’t have a home or even anywhere safe to play.

"I love being at home with my family and having friends over to spend time with them.

"It makes me happy and I think that every child needs a home and all children deserve to be happy and safe."

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan adds: "It was clear in the recent election that voters from all parts of the country want this homelessness and housing crisis to be ended.

"Whatever parties and independents form the new government, an ambitious but realistic programme for solving this issue must be the number one priority.

"While I understand delicate talks of this nature can take time, the over 3,500 children homeless don't have time.

"For every extra day our TDs negotiate a government formation, three family become homeless every day."

The charity says there are now 1,611 families in emergency homeless accommodation - including a total of 3,574 children.

Main image: Ava O'Donnell | Image via @FocusIreland on Twitter 


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Ava O'Donnell Commission On Housing Constitution Focus Ireland Homeless Homeless Children Homeless Crisis Josh Kelly Pat Dennigan Referendum

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