Government responsible for Housing and Homeless crisis - Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has accused the government of being responsible for the dire housing and homeless crisis across the state and especially in Dublin and Louth.
Speaking during Leaders Questions in the Dáil this evening Teachta Adams pointed to the report today by the Dublin Simon Community which launched its annual review. And he called on the government to change its housing policy and to build sufficient housing and tackle spiralling rent costs and rent certainty.
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“The Simon report and the worsening statistics of housing are an indictment of this government’s housing policy.
“There are 5,000 citizens in temporary shelter across the state, including 1500 children. There are nearly 2,300 people in emergency accommodation in this city, including almost 1,300 children and the number of homeless children in Dublin has increased by 63%.
“The Simon Community has rightly described this as a humanitarian crisis.
“Last Christmas much was made of the Taoiseach’s time on the streets meeting those living rough and at risk following the death of Jonathon Corrie in a doorway just opposite this chamber.
“The failure of government policy is evident in the fact this year the number sleeping rough is greater than when Jonathan Corrie died in front of this building in the run-in to Christmas last year.
“Last night 120 people slept rough on Dublin streets. That is a result of government policy.
“Across the state there are one hundred and thirty thousand citizens seeking a home and in my own constituency there are 5000 applicant’s on the housing list. This is an increase of forty thousand from four years ago. The housing crisis is by no means confined to Dublin.
"Waterford has seen a 74% rise in the number of people presenting as homeless in the first eight months of 2015.
“This humanitarian crisis is a direct result of government policies. There is a chronic lack of social and affordable housing. The government has built only a fraction of the social housing needed. It has refused to tackle rising rents or rent uncertainty. That is policy.
“Focus Ireland has stated that rising rents and static rent supplement payments are causing homelessness in families, 90% of whom have never been homeless before.
“Many are also being made homeless by landlords selling properties to take advantage of rising property prices.
“This Government needs to completely change the manner in which it views tenants. These are citizens with basic rights, not mere cash cows for private landlords.
“Minister Kelly’s approach has relied heavily on private rented accommodation to solve the housing crisis. This has not worked, will not work and cannot work.
“The housing and homeless crisis is now a humanitarian crisis.
“The government needs to change its housing policy and to initiate an immediate programme of responsibly planned building of social housing across this state, rent controls and a serious review of bank repossessions.”