Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that: ‘Policies pursued by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and his Government are directly responsible for record levels of homelessness.’ The comments were made as the Department of Housing released homeless figures for July showing that they have breached the previous peak recorded in October 2019.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Today the Department of Housing released their homeless report for July 2022. In that month there were 10,568 people including 3,137 children in emergency accommodation funded by the Department.
”This is higher than the previous peak of 10,514 recorded in October 2019. Policies pursued by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and his Government are directly responsible for these record levels of homelessness.
“In April 2021 Minister O’Brien ended the Covid-19 ban on evictions. Since then homelessness has increased by 2^%. Child homelessness has increased by 43%. Family homelessness by 30%. Single person homelessness by 13%.
”Of course these figures do not include all those homeless households. They do not include the hundreds of women and children in Tusla funded domestic violence refuges. They do not include the several hundred adults and children in hostels not funded by the state. And they do not include over 3,000 adults and children with Leave to Remain trapped in Direct Provision using it as emergency accommodation.
“The Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien must come out and make a statement today outlining what emergency measures he intends to take to halt the relentless rise in homelessness.
”Any emergency package must include an emergency ban on evictions into homelessness; an obligation on Councils to put in place a homeless prevention plan for all households with notices to quit; an expansion of the tenant in situ scheme where Councils buy rental properties with HAP, RAS or Rent Supplement tenants in situ with evictions notices; and crucially an expansion and acceleration of the social housing programme.
“Darragh O’Brien has been Minister for Housing for two years. The housing crisis has never been worse. Homelessness is rising, so too are house prices and rents. Meanwhile social and affordable housing output is way behind target. We urgently need a change of housing policy and that will only come with a change of Government.”