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Government must address rising levels of homelessness – Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan

22 March, 2014 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin’s Lynn Boylan has today commended the work of Fr. Peter McVerry in supporting those experiencing homelessness and has called on the government to immediately address the rising levels of youth homelessness by implementing a new, comprehensive strategy.  

She has also urged Labour and Fine Gael to look at restoring social welfare payments to young people who are coming out of care or homelessness.

Speaking ahead of attending tonight’s event in the Mansion House where social justice campaigner Fr. Peter McVerry will be awarded the freedom of Dublin City, the Dublin EU candidate said:

“Last year the Peter McVerry Trust provided supports and services to 3,586 people,  76 per cent of those assisted were homeless.

 “Fr. McVerry is an incredible advocate for housing rights and without the tireless work of the Trust, homelessness in Dublin would be significantly worse.

“Fine Gael and Labour, on entering government, committed to end long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough, yet the reality is things have got a lot worse under their watch.

"By the end of 2013 the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin had increased by 50 per cent. Focus Ireland figures show the number of families becoming homeless each month has doubled from eight to sixteen. Referrals to Threshold’s Dublin Access Housing Unit have also increased by a massive 77 per cent.

 “Labour in government was supposed to soften the edges of Fine Gael yet all the evidence points to an abandonment of the junior coalition partner’s key social policies.

 “Just last month Sinn Féin’s Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis warned that emergency accommodation in Dublin is at capacity and temporary assistance was needed from the Civil Defence, such is the scale of the problem.

 “Government’s austerity agenda is creating even greater divisions in our society.

“Far from living up to their commitments Labour and Fine Gael are making homelessness an ever greater problem which is most acutely felt in our capital city.

 “Dublin needs a real commitment by government to end long-term homelessness through the provision of social housing and a dedicated revenue stream for supported accommodation for the homeless.

“I am also calling on government to implement a new, comprehensive strategy on youth homelessness and to look at restoring social welfare payments to young people who are coming out of care or homelessness.”

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