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No evidence to support Homeless Agency chair claims - Minister Murphy must disassociate himself from the remarks - Eoin Ó Broin TD

2 January, 2018 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has sharply criticised comments by the outgoing chair of the Housing Agency, Conor Skehan, suggesting that families in emergency accommodation are not genuinely homeless and called on Minister Murphy to disassociate himself from the remarks.

Deputy Ó Broin has said that 'a study by the homeless agency on this issue published ion April 2016 provided no evidence to support this spurious claim'.

Deputy Ó Broin said;

"Conor Skehan's comments accusing some homeless families as 'gaming the system' are deeply hurtful to the thousands of people living in emergency accommodation.

"They are also not based on any evidence. In 2016 the Department of Housing commissioned the Housing Agency to produce a report on the then policy of allocating  50% of Council homes in Dublin to homeless families. While the report some of potential perverse incentives  it provided no evidence to support its claims.

"The reason why is because there is no evidence to support this accusation. Families presenting as homeless must provide evidence of their housing need such as a Notice to Quit or supporting documentation from a professional such as a social worker.

"Families who present as homeless without such documentation are, as a general rule, refused access to emergency accommodation. Council staff working in the homeless sections are tasked with ensuring that no allocation of emergency accommodation is made to a family without a genuine need.

"For the chair of the Housing Agency to claim that some families in emergency accommodation are 'gaming the system' is not only deeply regrettable but not based on any evidence whatsoever.

"Given that the body he chairs was set up to provide government with evidence based policy advice today's comments are very concerning.

"Minister Eoghan Murphy must come out today and publicly disassociate himself from these remarks. Failure to do so would be an insult to the thousands of adults and children living in emergency accommodation. It would also be an insult to the staff in Council homeless sections whose decisions Mr Skeehan is calling into question."


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