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Media Releases 2015

Budget 2016: Simon Communities say inaction on rent certainty & rent supplement will increase homelessness

Press Releases, Press Release 2015

The Simon Communities have said that budget 2016 measures are not sufficient to address the growing homeless and housing crisis. 

Rent Certainty

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said:

“We are deeply disappointed that there will not be an announcement of introduction of rent certainty measures today. These measure are essential in light on rapidly increasing market rents to offer tenants greater security of tenure. Such measure have been recommended by the Government advisory body the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). That these proposals have been blocked at a time when there is such limited social housing supply is appalling. Without such measures people will continue to find rents unaffordable and will continue to be pushed over the edge into homelessness. Rent certainty would provide the tenant and the landlord with certainty and security with tenancies.”

Rent Supplement

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said:

“It is our understanding that there is to be no increase in Rent Supplement levels in today Budget. This is extremely disappointing– we have repeatedly called for this measure to prevent more men, women and children from becoming homelessness. Our Locked Out report (August 2015) showed that 92% of properties on the market are outside of the reach of people on state rent support. If people cannot afford growing markets rents with the limited state support provided we will continue to see people becoming homelessness and people prevented from leaving homelessness behind. It is almost impossible to find accommodation that falls within the supplement limits. In Portlaoise and Galway for example, we found that there were no properties available within the rent supplement limits and there were just two properties available nationally within the limits for single people. Rent supplement is supposed to act as a safety net supporting people at a time of need to stay in their homes and to move into the private rented sector in the absence of social housing.”

Homeless Budget

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said:

“We welcome the increase in the homeless budget. This was absolutely imperative in light of growing numbers of people and families becoming homeless.  However, we urgently need to move away from an emergency led response, we can’t just keep offering people short term solutions with little attention paid to their longer term needs. For people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, access to appropriate housing and support is absolutely vital. This is the housing first approach this Government has committed to. There are 90,000 people on the social housing waiting list. There are thousands trapped in emergency accommodation. We need action for people already homeless and all those at risk of becoming homeless right now. It cannot wait. We are moving from a bad situation to one which is much worse.”

“This Budget line reflects just some of the funding which is required to address homelessness. Cutbacks to funding for housing support, for health services, probation and welfare services, education and training services etc, are all having knock-on effects that are contributing to the homelessness crisis. This combination of factors can trigger homelessness in the first place but can also prevent people from moving out of homelessness. We await further detail across these other budget lines.” 

NAMA

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said:

“We welcome the news that NAMA is to provide over 20,000 new houses over the next five year period. However, we would like clarification from NAMA confirming that these will be affordable housing units, as this is where the greatest need is in addition to Part V requirements.  It will also be critical to ring-fence housing within these allocations for people who are homeless as they have the greatest social housing need. We have continuously expressed concern in relation to social housing provision that there is just too little happening at far too slow a pace. We cannot tell the men, women and children using our services, trapped in emergency accommodation and people sleeping on our streets at night to wait two years before they will have a home of their own. Local Authorities need to get back into the core business of building and delivering social housing to those who need it most.”


The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6000 people families who experience - or are at risk of - homelessness on an annual basis. 

Ends

For media queries and interview requests 
Helen McCormack, Simon Communities of Ireland
Tel: 01 47 27 202/ 085 806 5141 
E:  communications@simoncommunity.com


See the Simon Communities Pre Budget Submission here

Homelessness - the numbers
• There are 4868 people in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, 707 families with 1,496 children, and 2413 single people. (DECLG, August 2015)
• During one night in April 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City (DRHE 2015).  This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 people sheltering at the Nite Café. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).
• In December 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork winding down since March 31st).
• In December the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.
• There are 90,000 people on the Social Housing waiting list (Housing Agency 2014)
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years.  The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year.

Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie.

Services range from
• Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
• Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
• Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
• Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough. 

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