Rebuilding Ireland has failed to tackle homelessness - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to abandon the homeless strategy adopted in Rebuilding Ireland as the policy is “flawed” and is “failing to tackle the growing homeless crisis”.
Speaking today, two years after the publication of the government’s housing policy document, Deputy Ó Broin said:
“When Rebuilding Ireland was published in July 2016 the homeless crisis was already out of control. That month there were 6,525 people, including 2,348 children living in emergency accommodation.
“Less than two years later homelessness had increased by 50%. In May 2018 there were 9,846, including 3,826 children living in emergency accommodation.
“This represents a 63% increase in the number of homeless children and a 54% increase in pensioner homelessness.
“The government needs to focus on preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.
“The biggest driver of the increase in homelessness is families being evicted into homelessness from the private rented sector when landlords sell the property.
“The government needs to rethink its failing policy. To truly tackle the homeless crisis Sinn Féin believe that the government take a number of short term and medium term measures.
“It must amend the Residential Tenancies Act to prevent buy-to-let landlords who benefited from tax breaks from evicting tenants in order to move a family member in or sell the home. This would help keep people in their homes.
“It must also amend the legislation to protect people deemed at risk of homelessness. Today when someone gets a notice to quit and are at risk of homelessness there is nothing the local authority can do until they are in fact homeless.
“The government must prioritise resourcing local authorities so they can provide a clear plan and appropriate supports to people deemed at risk of homelessness who have a notice to quit or are at risk of homelessness 60 days before they have to leave their accommodation.
“Ultimately the only way to end the scourge of homelessness is to build more social and affordable homes. Social housing delivery is too slow and no affordable homes have been delivered.
"The government must double capital investment in social and affordable housing in order to make a real impact on the crisis.”