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growing crisis

President Higgins says homeless people are deprived of freedom and a sense of belonging

Michael D Higgins has shared his thoughts on the impact of homelessness.

90520415 President Higgins Sam Boal / Sam Boal / /

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has spoken out about the impact of homelessness.

The president’s official Twitter account has shared an excerpt of a speech he gave while officially opening a homeless accommodation facility at Kilmantin Hill in Wicklow in 2014.

It reads: “Being homeless is not just about being deprived of a roof over your head; it is about being deprived of a sense of belonging, a place within a community, full participation with a voice in society.

There can be no doubt that a life defined by those three bleak words ‘no fixed address’ is a life deprived of the most basic entitlements that most citizens take so much for granted.

“Whether that homelessness takes the form of being forced to sleep on streets and in doorways and in public parks; or being placed in emergency accommodation with all the uncertainty that entails; or having to care for a family in just one room with no access to cooking facilities or outdoor space; homelessness removes so many of the acts of discretion that define freedom.”

Higgins is known for speaking out about topical issues affecting people in Ireland.

Growing crisis 

A total of 1,429 families were recorded as homeless in one week in July – an increase of 299 compared to the same week last year – according to figures released by the Department of Housing last week.

Between 24 and 30 July this year, there were 1,429 homeless families, compared to 1,130 families between 25 and 31 July last year. Almost 3,000 dependents were recorded as homeless that week, compared to 2,348 in the same week last year.

Speaking about the figures, a spokesperson for the department said: “The long-term solution to the current homelessness issue is to increase the supply of homes.”

Last week, politicians, charity leaders and officials from across the housing and homelessness sectors met at a summit to discuss the growing crisis.

Read: The number of homeless families in Ireland has increased by almost 300 in the past year

Read: ‘The impact on children is very severe’: 18 babies were born into a homeless charity’s services last year

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