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COMMENT: Homelessness figures are shocking and should be a cause of outrage

Monday, 12th March, 2018 7:59am
COMMENT: Homelessness figures are shocking and should be a cause of outrage

There are 3,267 children included in the figures. PHOTO POSED/BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Homelessness figures are shocking and should be a cause of outrage

There are 3,267 children included in the figures. PHOTO POSED/BIGSTOCK

Comment: Jennifer Thompson

THE latest homeless figures, which have reached a record high, are shocking and unacceptable and should be a cause of outrage and shame.

The figures should act as a rallying call for urgent action and for the State to declare a housing emergency.

Urgent reassessment of the Government's housing policy is needed. The key response to this crisis is to provide much greater protection to keep people in their homes as well as addressing land hoarding and prioritising the building of social and affordable housing.

We also need the Government to quickly publish its strategy for dealing with vacant properties.

We urgently need more social and affordable homes and must stop the continued over-reliance on the private sector to meet social housing needs.

It is also essential to stem the flow of those becoming homeless and enhance the protection for tenants to prevent the latest shocking figure from growing even more.

SVP members are increasingly seeing a huge number of families receiving notices to quit and are who are stressed by the fear of homelessness.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government show that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless in January. 

This is an increase of six percent in one month alone, from 8,587 in December last year. The number for January includes 5,837 adults and 3,267 children.

Our members are seeing this reality on a weekly basis and hearing the stories of the individuals and families behind these statistics and trends.

The figures are a further stark reminder of the dangers of relying on the dysfunctional housing market to address our housing and homelessness crisis. 

Families living in emergency accommodation consistently face uncertainty over their future and when they will find a home. They endure the daily worry of how they are going to feed their children; concern over the disruption to schooling; and the stress placed on families forced to all share the same room.

Jennifer Thompson is SVP Social Policy Development Officer.

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