The private rental sector is not the sole contributor to Ireland's homeless epidemic, according to the Housing Minister.
Homelessness figures in Ireland have reached record-breaking numbers, with the Department of Housing reporting that 12,441 people were in emergency accommodation in May.
This figure represents the number of people in State-funded emergency accommodation and does not include those who are sleeping rough or among the ‘hidden homeless’ that are temporarily staying with family or friends.
This figure also doesn’t include people in refuge centres and asylum seekers.
In May 2022, the number of homeless people increased by 20.5% in the space of a year.
On Lunchtime Live's Summer Tour, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien said the record-breaking numbers are "a reality we're dealing with."
"We didn't have enough houses to be able to house people – be they social houses or private homes – that's the reality of what's happening," he said.
"It's not just in relation to the private rental sector, one of the biggest cohorts as well is relationship breakup.
"All of those people and families in emergency accommodation are being supported by the State in good emergency accommodation."
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This morning, Green Party MEP, Ciarán Cuffe's called for a rent increase ban for all buildings F-rated in terms of energy or below.
Minister O'Brien said his previous rent caps have "protected a lot of renters."
"I brought in the 2% rent cap – the RPZs – the rents were capped at 4% prior to that," he said.
"The renter's tax credit, that's worth €1000 to every renter this year – that's a very significant payment."
Minister O'Brien said that although one year of progress doesn't fix everything, "real progress" is being made.
"[The] investments by the State in affordable housing for people to rent and to purchase ... it's the biggest intervention that any Government has made, ever," he said.
Since the eviction ban came to an end on March 31st, Fr Peter McVerry said he was “in despair” and described it as “the worst possible time” for the measure to lapse.
Minister O'Brien said the moratorium was "brought in on a temporary basis."
"We've got to be very careful as to what we do in the rental sector that it doesn't lead to an unintended consequence of more landlords actually leaving the market," he said.
Last night, Minister O'Brien launched the Defective Concrete Blocks Scheme to offer financial support to those whose homes have been affected by defective concrete blocks.
Government has said the scheme will be capped at €420,000.
In a statement released last night, Mica Action Group chairperson Lisa Hone said homeowners have been left "utterly let down" by the scheme.
Ms Hone listed "a failure to prioritise the vulnerable", "the absence of suitable accommodation" for those impacted and the fact that this scheme "does not cover 100% of true costs" as some of the scheme's failings.
Minister O'Brien said he has "engaged directly with the action group" and believes the scheme is "greatly enhanced."
"It will evolve as it moves forward, but the new scheme has now stood up.
"It's a very emotive issue like these are people's homes, but people's lives have been really badly affected by this too."
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