Speaking after the publication of the CSO census 2011 homelessness figures Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis has said that the figures “show a worrying increase in homelessness across the state”. Deputy Ellis blamed the “failure of government housing policy” for the rise and called for “increased investment in social housing to tackle the growing housing crisis.”
Deputy Ellis said:
“Today’s figures from the CSO show that on April 10th 2011 3,808 people were homeless in the state. In March 2011 the Department of Environment estimated that there were 2,348 people homeless in the state. Clearly the difference between these two figures is deeply disturbing and indicated a significant increase in homelessness.
“This rise is a result of the failure of government housing policy. Both Fianna Fail and the Fine Gael-Labour governments have slashed spending on social housing. Both governments have also introduced restrictions on and cuts to rent supplement. As a result the state is experiencing the worst housing crisis in decades. The homeless figures are just the tip of a much bigger iceberg.
“The programme for government committed Fine Gael and Labour to’ increase the stock of social housing’ and to develop ‘social housing bonds’ to fund increased provision. Nineteen months into their term of office and the Government had done neither of these things. Rather they have followed Fianna Fail’s policy of starving local authorities of funds to meet peoples housing need and further restricted access to rent supplement.
“I am calling on both Fine Gael and Labour to publically acknowledge the true extent of the housing and homeless crisis in the state and to honour their programme for government commitments to increase the supply of social housing as a matter of urgency.’ ENDS