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Eoin Ó Broin TD introduces Homeless Prevention Bill 2020

3 November, 2020 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Eoin Ó BroinSinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has today introduced the Homeless Prevention Bill 2020 as figures show a steady increase from May 2020 in families presenting as homeless

The Bill places a legal obligation on local authorities to provide people at risk of homelessness with a plan and appropriate supports to prevent them from entering homeless services.

Speaking today, Teachta Ó Broin said: “The Homeless Prevention Bill 2020 is focused on homeless prevention and places a statutory obligation on local authorities to adopt a proactive approach once someone has been identified as being at risk of homelessness.

"Today, when households receive a notice to quit and are at risk of homelessness, there is nothing the local authority can do until they are in fact homeless. 

“In some cases, families can access the higher homeless Housing Assistant Payment rates, but they still have to source accommodation in the private rented sector themselves. 

“Local authorities must be adequately resourced to take a more hands-on role and to provide a plan and the appropriate supports to people who are at risk of homelessness 60 days before they have to leave their accommodation.

"Unfortunately the official figures from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive published at the end of October show a steady increase in the number of families presenting as homeless after the initial lockdown was lifted this summer.

“In March and April this year, the figures dipped slightly with 123 families presenting in March and 76 families in April, down from 171 in February.

"There was a 48% increase in the number of families presenting from May (87) to June (129) this year.

“From a low of 76 families in April, August saw 159 families presenting, an increase of 109%.

“These figures don’t include the hidden homeless - people sofa surfing, people surviving in overcrowded accommodation, and people who have their leave to remain but are stuck living in Direct Provision because they cannot find anywhere to rent.

“The Bill also pays particular attention to the needs of homeless children, care leavers, victims of domestic abuse, and people with a mental illness. 

"More needs to be done to prevent households from entering homeless services in the first place.

"Empowering and resourcing local authorities to assist families before they lose their home is something that I hope all political parties can support."

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