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Families languish in Emergency Accommodation as 198,000 homes lie vacant – Ó Broin

9 March, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the Government to adopt an ambitious vacant homes strategy and to do more to bring empty homes back into use.

Speaking during Leaders Questions, Deputy Ó Broin said:

“It is a scandal that 198,000 homes lie vacant across the state as the Department of Housing’s latest figures show a record number of people are dependent on emergency accommodation.

“The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive published figures this week which showed that 60% of homeless families in Dublin have been in emergency accommodation for more than six months. The figures also showed that 40% of families have been in hotels, B&Bs or hostels for over one year and that 138 families have spent more than 18 months in emergency accommodation. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that some of the 2,500 homeless children have spent more of their lives in emergency accommodation than in a stable home

“Many of these families are living in inappropriate, unsuitable, and insecure accommodation. We have heard stories of families being forced to stay in damp rooms with blood stained sheets, mice, and cockroaches.

“There is an obvious solution to this problem. In Dublin alone, there are 40,000 empty homes, that is almost 40 houses for every homeless family. The various schemes announced by the Government to target vacant homes is simply not enough. The three schemes currently in place will only deliver around 6,400 homes over six years. That is only 3% of the total vacant housing stock. Similarly, of the 1,100 on offer to government by various banks, the Government has only committed by purchasing 200 of these.

“Instead of taking responsibility for the housing crisis that her party has perpetuated, the Tánaiste today chose to hide behind her statistics. If funding is not a problem, there is no reason why the Government cannot ramp up its acquisitions target for vacant homes. If the Government is serious about tackling the housing and homeless crisis, it needs to seriously consider some of the recommendations made by both the Simon Community last week and the Peter McVerry Trust today on returning vacant homes to use.” 

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