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French company donates €100,000 to house homeless people in Dublin

Two charities today have called in the government to overhaul the rental system to keep people in their homes.

Image: family image via Shutterstock.com

A FRENCH BUILDING materials supplier, Saint Gobain, announced a donation of €100,000 to the Peter McVerry Trust today which will go towards providing accommodation to homeless families.

The money will be used to refurbish six apartments in a disused building on Pim Street in Dublin 8 and the project will be complete by February 2015.

“What this means in reality is that six households will get their second chance, their own apartment, and a chance to stand on their own two feet. What it means is that the people who are lucky enough to get a place in the new apartment block will get their own home and their independence back, and that is a huge thing,” noted Pat Doyle, CEO of the charity.

It comes as figures issued by homeless charity Focus Ireland today found that an additional 42 families lost their homes in November this year and will be homeless for Christmas. They warned today that the Government’s refusal to raise rent supplement and also freeze rents is forcing more families into homelessness.

In Dublin alone, over 450 families, with almost 1,000 children, have become homeless in the first 11 months of this year. With just over a week until Christmas, these newly homeless families will be spending the special day in hostels or packed into hotel rooms.

Threshold, the national housing charity, also said today the private rental sector is not fit for purpose, revealing some worrying statistics about the tenant issues in its annual report for 2013.

One of the largest issues affecting clients was deposit retention with almost 2,000 queries about it in the last year and more than 27,000 since 2004. The biggest issue was standards and repairs while 651 people contacted Threshold about illegal evictions.

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Some 580 people also contacted the charity last year about the issue of rent arrears. Today Threshold said the legislation in place is failing to ensure regulations around minimum standards in rental accommodation. It also said loopholes in the law are allowing landlords to remove tenants from their homes and then re-advertise the same properties at substantially higher rents.

“The Government needs to acknowledge that, for many families, renting their home is their only option,” commented Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold. “The problem is that the private rented sector is simply not secure enough for families who need long-term certainty.”

Both charities are stressing today that the rental sector, and structures around it, needs to be overhauled in order to stop more families from becoming homeless and to start working towards a solution to the wider problem.

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