Government has no answers to deepening homeless crisis- Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has criticised the government for presiding over a deepening homeless crisis as the April homeless figures show an increase in the number of homeless children and a further manipulation of the figures.
Questioning the Tánaiste and former Minister for Housing Simon Coveney during leader’s questions in the Dáil, Deputy Ó Broin said:
“The Department of Housing’s official homeless figures for April show a marginal 0.2% decrease in the overall homeless figures. However, the number of homeless children was up 43 on the previous month to 3,689. In fact under this Fine Gael government child homelessness has increased by a shocking 74%.
“While the figures themselves are grim reading, worryingly the data was once again manipulated by the Minister for Housing in an attempt to distract from his failure to deal with the homeless crisis.
“The Minister has removed 297 people from Dublin City and Meath from the official April figures. That’s 875 people he has removed from the figures over the past two months who he claims are not homeless.
“This is at odds with what local authority housing managers are saying.
“The most senior and experienced local authority housing official in the state Brendan Kenny this morning maintained that the people removed from the list in Dublin City this month are still homeless.
He said: “There’s no tenancy agreement. They’re still homeless. They’re on the homeless list. They still have homeless priority.”
“The focus on the figures is not where we want to be. However it is important to have accurate data in order to get a clear picture of what we are dealing with.
“We are forgetting to look at the bigger picture. Behind every statistic is a person. Is this government comfortable with children growing up in cramped hotel rooms?
“Is this government comfortable with pensioners who have been given notices to quit entering homeless services? Under this Fine Gael government the number of over 65s in emergency accommodation increased 60%.
“It appears from the Tánaiste’s response today that they are. Hotel rooms and hubs are his solution.”
“The reality is there is not enough urgency in the government’s delivery of real homes. It comes down to choices and we will see if the government’s defensive rhetoric today in the Dáil chamber will be reflected in the upcoming budget.”