Belfast Telegraph

Charity highlights ‘1,000% rise’ in homeless families each month

Focus Ireland has called for action in Budget 2020 to fast-track increased delivery of social housing to help ease the crisis.

A mural in Dublin city centre by art group Subset highlights the housing crisis in the city (PA)
A mural in Dublin city centre by art group Subset highlights the housing crisis in the city (PA)

By Rebecca Black, PA

There has been an increase of more than 1,000% in the number of families becoming homeless every month since 2011, a charity has claimed.

Focus Ireland released the figure as it launched its pre-budget submission calling for action to fast-track increased delivery of social housing to help ease the homelessness crisis.

It comes ahead of Ireland’s Budget 2020 announcement next month.

Government figures for June showed there were 10,172 homeless people in Ireland, made up of 6,497 adults and 3,675 children.

Focus Ireland said in July 2019, a total of 10,275 people were homeless nationwide.

The charity is urging Government to allocate specific investment in the Land Development Agency (LDA) to help drive the better use of state-owned land to deliver more social housing and affordable rental accommodation.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen said it is essential the state “takes a more active role in driving the building of more social housing”.

He added: “The solution to homelessness is simple. We need to deliver more social housing and more affordable rental accommodation.

“To achieve this we must make maximum use of all the resources available to us, and publicly-owned land is one of the most significant resources we have.

“We are calling for a significant shift in the overall allocation of how public land is used by the LDA to be made in Budget 2020 to ensure that it has the resources to deliver a minimum of 15% social, 15% cost rental and 30% ‘affordable for sale’ on all LDA state-owned land developments.

“When Fine Gael came into Government in 2011, eight families were becoming homeless every month. This has now increased to an average of 90 families becoming homeless every month. That is a staggering increase of more than 1,000% in the numbers of families becoming homeless every month in the past eight years.

“Meanwhile, the latest figures clearly show the homeless crisis is continuing to deepen with a total of 10,275 homeless.

“These shocking figures mean the Government must really take significant action to make delivering more social and affordable rental housing one of the main priorities in Budget 2020.”

PA

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