Sinn Fein Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD met with representatives of the Simon Community today in Leinster House to be briefed on the worsening homelessness problem in Ireland.
Speaking after the meeting Deputy Ellis said:
“Due to the financial crisis in the country especially with distressed mortgages, unemployment and cuts to social welfare the homelessness situation in Ireland is getting worse.
For many people at the moment, the only thing standing between them and homelessness is their next pay packet or social welfare contribution. Media leaks from Ministers are suggesting that Government is determined to cut back on social welfare spending and those lucky enough to be holding down a job are facing another hammering in the next budget.
“Cuts to funding for housing support, health services, probation, welfare services, and education and training services, all have major knock-on effects that contribute to homelessness. Cuts to these vital supports not only increase the possibility of homelessness, but it also prevents people from moving out of homelessness.
“Current funding levels for homelessness need to be maintained and increased.
“Following recent reports from the CSO and Focus Ireland we already know that there are around 5,000 homeless people in Ireland and 100,000 people are on various local housing waiting lists. Yet we have 230,000 vacant homes across the country.
I am calling on the Government to take immediate action on the homelessness problem in Ireland and to ensure that those who are at risk of homelessness or those trying to move out of homelessness, are given the full supports they need.”