Homelessness Continues to Rise – Minister tries to bury bad news - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Minister Simon Coveney of ‘trying to bury bad news during the holiday season’ following the publication of the Department of Housing Homeless Report for November showing that the total number of people experiencing homelessness has almost reached 7,000 for the first time.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Today, the Department of Housing published their Homeless Report for November. It shows that 6985 people were accessing emergency accommodation funded by the Department of Housing in that month including 2549 children.
“The figures don't include adults and children in emergency domestic violence refuges funded by Tusla, non residents in emergency accommodation funded by the New Communities Unit of the Department of Social Protection or those people sofa surfing.
“The figures also don't detail the length of time people are spending in emergency accommodation with some families left for up to two years in inappropriate hotels or bed and breakfasts.
“The figures released today show a 30% increase in family and child homelessness on November 2015 and a 20% increase in adult homelessness.
“Given that Fine Gael have been in office for the last five years these figures are a damning indictment of the failure of their housing policies.
“I am also very concerned that for the second month in a row Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has sought to bury this bad news. His decision not to publish the figures before the Christmas break is clearly motivated by a desire to reduce media coverage and public awareness of his government’s failures.
“The Minister is not shy about producing glossy documents and organising high profile press launches to re-announce his housing plans. However, when it comes to rising homeless numbers his preference is to have them slipped onto his Department’s website during the holidays without so much as a press release.
“There is an urgent need for the Government to step up its house acquisition and building programme to get these adults and children out of emergency accommodation. AIB and PTSB have offered the State up too 1000 vacant houses for purchase yet inexplicably Government has only provided money for the purchase of 200. Likewise there are 189,000 vacant units across the state yet the funding being made available to get these units back into active use is a drop in the ocean.
“2017 can be the year Government ends homelessness but only if they match their words with action and crucially with funds. Today's homeless figures are a reminder that such actions are still not forthcoming from the current administration.”