Minister Murphy accused of ‘victim blaming’ over homeless briefings – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy of ‘victim blaming’ following a number of stories in today’s Sunday papers based on briefings from Government that “seek to blame the dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in February on the behaviour of the homeless themselves, rather than on the failures of Government housing policy”.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“There are a number of stories in today’s Sunday papers clearly based on briefings from Government. These briefings seek to blame the dramatic increase in the number of homeless people in February on the behaviour of the homeless rather than on the failures of Government housing policy.
“One story claims the surge in the number of families with children presenting as homeless in February was the result of the proposed ending of priority homeless status in Dublin City Council.
“This proposal was only made public at the start of March so could not have had any impact on homelessness numbers in February. It is also important to note that the proposed policy has not been agreed by Dublin City and does not apply to the other local authorities around the county and country.
“Another story suggested that a refusal by families in emergency accommodation to take up Housing Assistance Payment tenancies in the private rental sector may explain February’s increase.
“There is an understandable reluctance among some people in emergency accommodation to take up short term HAP tenancies. This is due to the fact that they are the taken off the Councils’ main housing list and are concerned that they may end up homeless again.
“However, it in no way explains why February say a dramatic increase in the number of homeless adults and children.
“It appears that Minister Murphy and his office are engaging in a crude form of victim blaming to deflect attention from his own policy failures. Homeless families must pass through a rigorous interview process before being accepted as having a need for emergency accommodation. The idea that it is their behaviour that is the cause of their homelessness is both offensive and inaccurate.”