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Minister Coveney must do more to meet the housing needs of those fleeing Domestic Violence – Ó Broin

2 May, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has requested a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney to discuss how his Department can do more to meet the housing needs of the adults and children fleeing domestic violence.

The request comes following the launch of a series of Sinn Féin policy proposals that aim to make it easier for adults and children fleeing domestic violence situations to access accommodation.  

Speakers at the launch included Margaret Martin, Director of Women’s Aid and Fiona Ryan CEO of Sonas, a provider of frontline domestic violence support services in the Dublin region. The event was chaired by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise Ó Reilly TD.

Speaking today, Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Unfortunately, Domestic Violence is one of the main triggers of homelessness. SAFE Ireland estimate that 4,000 women and children per year are accommodated in emergency accommodation who are not being counted and recognised as Homeless.

“This document aims to help fill in gaps identified in the current government approach to domestic violence accommodations services.  The current provision does not meet the current level of need required, with the refuge spaces available only representing 31% of the spaces needed.

“Furthermore, it is impossible to tell the true level of refuge spaces needed as the Department of Housing monthly homeless figures do not include the number of adults and children in Tusla funded domestic violence refuges or step down accommodation.

“In an attempt to address these issues, we have made a series of recommendations in our document. Firstly, it is essential that the funding allocated for these services meets the level of need required.  The Government must treble the funding for these supports over five years, from €20m in 2016 to at least €60m in 2021.

“We also believe that the provision of emergency and step down accommodation units should fall within the remit of the Department of Housing with Tusla and NGOs providing support. We also need to see greater flexibility in HAP/Rent Supplement payments to help women transitioning out of abusive situations and there needs to be greater flexibility with the application of council housing allocation schemes.

“However, before all of this can happen, we need to get the basics right. We need the Department of Housing to include the adults and children in Tusla funded accommodation in the monthly Department homeless figures. We need to get the data right so we know the true scale of problem we are dealing with.

“We have sent Minister Coveney a copy of our document and we have requested a meeting with him to discuss the detail of our proposals.” 

Note: Please see attached the document in question 

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