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Nearly 100 families became homeless in Dublin in July

Focus Ireland release homeless figures today amidst calls for clear Government targets and timelines

Image: Shutterstock/juefraphoto

WITH 97 FAMILIES becoming newly homeless in Dublin last month, Focus Ireland has said these figures highlight the scale of the challenge ahead for the Government.

These latest figures mean that 599 families and 1202 children have become homeless in the first seven months of this year alone in the capital.

Yesterday the Dublin Region Homeless Executive released figures showing that the number of children in Dublin who do not have a permanent home rose past 2,000 for the first time ever last month.

There were 2,020 children within 993 families in emergency accommodation in the capital last month.

“Shocking” figures

Fr Peter McVerry of the Peter McVerry Trust has called the latest figures of homeless children in Dublin “shocking.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One today, he said it has become the norm now.

“We have almost one thousand families who are homeless with 2020 children who are homeless. That is an appalling indictment on a country like Ireland,” he said.

He also told RTE News that while he welcomes Minister for Housing Simon Coveney’s plan to tackle housing, it is not going to kick in for some time and by the time it does the numbers will be much worse than they are now.

Tackling homelessness

Last month the government published its housing and homelessness plan entitled “Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.’

The 115-page document laid out its strategy in four main pillars, and promised various timelines for each action, with the latest deadline occurring at the end of 2021.

This included promises to build 10,000 new houses a year, to spend over €5 billion on social housing in the next five years, and to implement measures that stop people from being evicted, such as increasing the rent supplement and housing action plan (HAP) limits.

The plan also aimed to ensure that by this time next year hotels are used for families in only limited circumstances.

However Focus Ireland has said it is “highly concerning” that nearly 100 more families became homeless in Dublin alone last month and this highlights the scale of the challenge ahead for the Government if it is to reach this target.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “This is sadly one of the highest numbers of families who have become homeless in one single month. Although the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness provides some direction on how we can deal with this crisis, there are real concerns that we have a broad framework rather than a detailed plan of action, particularly in relation to families.”

“It is shocking to think that we now have a record number of 2,020 children living in emergency accommodation – a lot of whom will be going back to school in the next few weeks and trying to cope with the stress of being homeless.”

Allen added that these children and families deserve a more detailed plan from the Government setting out solutions to the fact that they have no long-term home.

“A large number of these will cost money and the level of funding will depend upon the 2017 Budget. In this context the report is timely but the actual costing of these initiatives and how they will be progressed in the budget process needs to be made clearer,” he said.

The charity said they needed “clear targets and timelines” if homelessness for families and children around the country is to end.

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About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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