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Dramatic increase in homelessness - Minister Murphy must change policy or resign

19 December, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Speaking this evening in response to the latest homeless figures published by the Department of Housing Sinn Féin spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has said “Minister Murphy must change policy or resign”.

The latest figures show steep rises in adult, family and child homelessness including in Dublin.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that in November 8,857 people including 3,333 children were living in emergency accommodation. The figures show a monthly increase from October to November of 226 adults, 67 families and 139 children.

“The Minister issued these figures to the media after 8pm tonight in what was clearly an attempt to bury more bad news on the housing front. 

“The latest figures also show a significant increase in levels of homelessness in Dublin with an additional 155 adults, 49 families and 108 children in the capital living in emergency accommodation in November.

“For two months the Minister was spinning that earlier declines in homeless numbers in Dublin, where Government policy was allegedly focusing on, was producing results. Tonight’s figures show the opposite.

“The Government housing and homeless policy is failing. Every single month the crisis deepens. How many more families must become homeless before Minister Murphy understands this.

“The single biggest driver of family homelessness are landlords issuing vacant possession notices to quit when selling their property under pressure from banks. 

“Last December on the last day of the Dáil I along with other TDs tabled the Focus Ireland amendment to prevent landlords issuing vacant possession notices to quit. Minister Murphy and his Fine Gael colleagues voted against the amendment. Fianna Fáil abstained ensuring the amendment was defeated. 

“This simple change to the law would have prevented many of the families who will tonight sleep in emergency accommodation from becoming homeless.

“The Government is also not doing enough to purchase turn key properties, not on the open market, to get individuals and families out of emergency accommodation. Some 1,800 properties have been offered to the Government in the last 12 months.To date less than 600 have been purchased.

“If Minister Murphy wants to get a grip on this crisis he should make these two simple changes in January to stop the flow of families into homelessness and reduce the number of families in emergency accommodation.

“If he is not willing to do this then he should resign. He cannot be allowed to continue in office if he is not prepared to tackle this issue head on.  The consequences of his inaction have been catastrophic for the ever increasing numbers of families now living in emergency accommodation.”


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