Homelessness crisis in Louth ‘a scandal’ – Adams
Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has accused the Government of “failing homeless families in Louth and the thousands more on the waiting list in the constituency”.
Describing the worsening crisis in Louth as a scandal the Louth TD pointed out that the recent figures by the Department of Housing have revealed that homelessness in Louth has more than doubled in the last year.
The Sinn Féin President said:
“There has been a steady worsening of the number of citizens in homelessness for Louth under this Government. Three years ago, the Taoiseach acknowledged that is an emergency. In the years since then Government Ministers have spoken of their deep concern for the plight of families and especially of children, left without a home and forced to use often inappropriate emergency accommodation.
“This week, the Department of Housing released figures that revealed 4,972 adults and 2,708 children are now living in emergency accommodation. This is a steep increase on last year when 4068 adults were homeless. The scale of the homelessness problem is now such that last week 12 families, including more than 30 children, in Dublin who could not be placed in emergency accommodation. They were told to go to Garda stations.
“The figures also show that in Louth the number of homeless adults has increased from 74 this time last year to 151. In March this year there were 113 homeless adults. One month later this had jumped to 151. According to the Department’s figures, in 2016, there were two families with 13 dependents homeless in Louth in April 2017. This year that number jumped to 18 families and 44 dependents.
“This is the 13th consecutive month that the number of people in need of emergency accommodation has risen across the state.”
“These statistics do not reflect the personal distress and trauma for families who no longer have a home of their own. The stress on children is particularly severe.
“The defence of Government policy on housing and homelessness by Ministers and local TDs is outrageous. The Government’s housing policy is by any definition a disgraceful failure.
“The Government’s housing policy is ruining people’s lives. The housing and homelessness crisis is a direct result of the policies pursued the current Government and previous administrations. It can be resolved by the actions of Government.
“The next Taoiseach must set such an agenda within Government. That is his duty. He must end the pretence that policy alternatives for addressing the housing crisis do not exist. He must realise the Government's approach is wrong and that it is ruining lives. He must listen to what is being said, not just by Sinn Féin, but by housing advocacy groups.
“The Government must also introduce effective rent controls, increase capital funding to local authorities to build social housing and provide for greater security of tenure. They must implement programmes to get the 183,000 vacant homes across the state back into use. Such steps would make a real and substantial difference.
“For any party with a genuine commitment to social justice, these matters would dominate a leadership election. However, it has barely impinged on the race to replace Enda Kenny as Fine Gael Leader.”