Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has called for ‘urgent action from Minister O’Brien’ as homelessness returns to pre-Covid levels.
His comments were made in response to the publication of the March Department of Housing homeless report.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“The March Department of Housing’s homeless report shows that we have returned to pre-Covid levels of homelessness.
“All categories are up and up significantly. The report states that there were 7014 adults and 2811 children in emergency accommodation funded by the Department of Housing last month.
“There has been a 5% increase compared to February’s figures of families and children in emergency accommodation.
“We are now back to the levels of homelessness experienced before the Covid-19 ban on evictions introduced in 2020.
“Government’s failure to provide a sufficient level of new social housing, coupled with the shrinking private rental sector, is driving homeless presentations.
“Vacant possession notices to quit from landlords are responsible for more than half of all evictions. More families and single people are presenting as homeless and they are finding it harder to exit due to the lack of social or private rental accommodation.
“The Government clearly does not have a handle on this deepening crisis. We need urgent action from the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien if this trend is to be reversed.
“The Government must allow local authorities to buy rental properties where the sitting HAP or RAS tenant has a notice to quit, to prevent the family becoming homeless.
“Government must also introduce the Focus Ireland Amendment to ensure that where a buy-to-let landlord is selling their property, they must leave the tenant in situ.
“We also need Government to fully implement the Simon Communities (Homeless Prevention) Bill, which was passed by the Dáil last December.
“Crucially, we need Government to increase the number of new social homes being delivered and accelerate the pace of delivery. The current targets are too low and the delivery times far too slow.
“The upward trend in levels of homelessness is set to continue into the summer. This means we will pass the 10,000 mark very soon unless Government acts.”