Youth Homelessness ‘directly attributable to austerity legacy’ – Brady
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Social Protection John Brady has said that callous cuts and discrimination based on age in the social welfare system have placed many young people in a position where they find themselves homeless and trapped in a spiral on dependence.
The Wicklow TD said:
“There were 696 young adults in emergency accommodation in the State last month with 492 of these in Dublin. When one considers the number of 18 to 24 year olds in hidden homelessness either sleeping on a friend’s couch or staying with relatives that figure is likely to be far higher.
“The previous Government made a great song and dance about not cutting social welfare. This was patently untrue as benefits such as child benefit and back to school allowances were slashed, and benefits continue to suffer under this Government.
“Fianna Fáil cut Jobseekers’ Allowance for 18 and 19 year olds to €100 in 2009, a reduction which was extended to 18 to 24 year olds in 2010. The rate for 25 year olds is €144, while the full rate, for jobseekers over 25 is €188.
“The discrimination based on age was one of the greatest insults to young people. It was a direct allegation that they were worth less to those in power than others; that they could somehow go about their lives in the same society as others but survive on half as much income.
“While welcome strides are being made to reform the social welfare system, too many young people are locked into a spiral of dependency on meagre allowances that prevented them from paying rent, buying food, and having the space to seek employment.
“Through callous cuts and short-sighted austerity measures, we are now witnessing the direct result. Young people being forced onto the street and abandoned by the system.”