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Rent certainty required to address number of citizens becoming homeless

3 November, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald TD, speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, has said the government’s record on housing is “abysmal” and that the tide of citizens falling into homeless must be tackled by providing for rent certainty. 

Teachta McDonald said:

“Yesterday evening, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government published monthly figures outlining the number of citizens homeless across the State.  

“We might have been forgiven for thinking that things could not get any worse, but there has been yet another increase in the number of individuals, families and children without homes.

“4,283 adults, 1,173 families and 2,426 children were sleeping in emergency accommodation in September. These figures don’t include the hidden homeless; those sofa-surfing or those refused access to emergency accommodation.

“Every day, more people are presenting as homeless. Home repossessions, houses being sold in which tenants are living, spiralling rents and family breakdown are the key reasons. In my own constituency, the majority of people coming to my office in such difficulties are seeking help because of increases in rents and an inability to afford the massive hikes that landlords are demanding.

“There are tens of thousands of other citizens and families who live in absolute fear of hikes in their rent that might push them into homelessness. It’s a crisis beyond comprehension.

“Yet, the government and Fianna Fáil have consistently refused to tackle and stop outrageous rent increases. Just in the current term, they have voted against Sinn Féin’s rent certainty proposals twice; in the Dáil in June, and in the Seanad in the last month.

“Despite all the talk of understanding the situation and high profile launches, Minister Simon Coveney, like Alan Kelly before him, is failing to take the urgent action required to keep people in their homes and provide housing for those trapped in emergency accommodation.

“What we need are solutions now. Not one more family and not one more child should be made homeless. The government must commit to the single biggest step they could take that would stop people falling into homelessness and that’s rent certainty linked to the Consumer Price Index.” 

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