Telling homeless families to wait while things get worse is not acceptable - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien of taking a blasé approach to the escalating homeless crisis.
Ó Broin's comments were in response to the Minister’s acceptance that homelessness numbers will continue to rise throughout this year.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Yesterday, Minister O'Brien admitted that the number of adults and children in emergency accommodation will continue to rise throughout this year.
“Despite being two years in office, he has effectively admitted that his policies are not working.
“Rather than adopting appropriate emergency measures, he has told those in emergency accommodation and those at risk of homelessness to wait until his policies have time to bed down.
“This kind of blasé approach to the escalating homeless crisis is totally unacceptable. In the last year, under Darragh O’Brien’s watch, official levels of homelessness have increased by 24%.
“We have now returned to pre-Covid levels of homelessness with over 10,000 adults and children in Department of Housing-funded emergency accommodation.
“We have also learned today that there are a further 2,800 people trapped in Direct Provision with their leave to remain but unable to leave because of the housing crisis. They are effectively using Direct Provision as a form of emergency homeless accommodation.
“Add to this an additional 600 women and children in Tusla-funded domestic violence refuges, and the 100 women and men in homeless hostels that receive no state funding, and the real level of homelessness is more than 13,500.
“This shocking figure is the direct result of the actions and inactions of Darragh O’Brien and his Government. His decision to end the Covid-19 ban on evictions last year has led to the dramatic surge in homeless presentations in the last 12 months.
“His failure to respond to the shrinking of the private rental sector, coupled with the low output of social housing, has meant that singles and families at risk of homelessness have nowhere to go but emergency accommodation.
“Now, with the increased pressure on hotels, B&Bs and family HUBs we are once again seeing families unable to access emergency accommodation.
“Minister O’Brien must stop being a spectator to the crisis he is creating. He must accelerate social housing delivery. He must ramp up the tenant-in-situ scheme. He must double the housing first tenancy target. And he must implement the homeless prevention measures contained in the Focus Ireland amendment and the Simon Communities Homeless Prevention Bill.
“We are in a homeless emergency and we need an emergency response from Government. Lamenting the failure of his own term of office as Minister for Housing is simply not good enough.”