Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has said that this Government presided over a disastrous record of homelessness, which has hit record numbers, and will only continue to rise.
He said that the Government’s refusal to intervene and prevent investment funds from pushing up house prices and snapping up family homes under the noses of workers and families is compounding the crisis.
Speaking as he announced that Sinn Féin would this week bring forward a motion with measures to tackle homelessness, to be debated in the Dáil on Tuesday, Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Under this Government, homelessness has hit record numbers which will only continue to rise. It’s time for change. It is time for change.
“The Government’s refusal to intervene and prevent investment funds from pushing up house prices and snapping up family homes under the noses of workers and families is compounding the crisis.
“In November, 13,514 people, including 4,105 children, were in Department of Housing-funded emergency accommodation. When the December figures are announced this coming Friday, we expect those numbers to deteriorate even further.
“When all hostels and rough sleepers are included, the true level of homelessness is closer to 20,000, while the most recent report from the Health Research Board stated that 121 people experiencing homelessness died prematurely in 2021.
“There are stark warnings from housing and homeless charities that deaths of people experiencing homelessness are likely to rise in the time ahead.
“This is the horrendous legacy of those currently in power. Since Fine Gael took office in 2011, homelessness has increased by 254% and child homelessness by 540%, while since the current Government took office, homelessness has increased by 61% and child homelessness by 74%.
“There are a number of measures that the Government must put in place to half the slide of workers, families and children into homelessness.
“They must bring forward measures to effectively ban investment funds from bulk-purchasing homes that otherwise would be available to home buyers and Local Authorities or Approved Housing Bodies, which must include increased stamp duty on such bulk purchases.
“They must increase targets and accelerate the delivery of social and affordable housing
“They must use emergency planning and procurement powers and new building technologies and vacant homes to deliver an additional stream of social housing specifically for those in emergency accommodation or at risk of homelessness
“They must expand and accelerate the tenant-in-situ schemes for social and affordable housing to reduce the risk of homelessness, increase funding for the provision of domestic violence refuge places, and reintroduce the temporary ban on no-fault evictions until there is a meaningful reduction in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation.
“Only with a change of Government and a change of housing plan, with a real focus on ending homelessness, can we start to undo the damage of decades of bad Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing policy.
“But these are sensible and achievable measures that the Government can take and introduce now that can help stop the tide of workers, families and children falling into homelessness.
“I would urge the Government to take these proposals on board when our Dáil motion is debated and voted on this week.”
Sinn Féin’s motion can be read here.