The ‘Impact of Homelessness on Children’ report, by the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, and the ‘Child and Family Homelessness’ report by the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government make a combined 34 recommendations to address homelessness and its effects on children and families. Recommendations include:
· An examination of the possibility of putting the right to housing in the Constitution as a matter of priority.
· An acceleration of the provision of social and affordable housing to homeless families over the next two years by Government.
· A phased reduction on the use of private rental market for housing provision.
Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that the recommendations contained in today’s reports should be quickly put into action.
“The Simon Communities welcome the strong recommendations contained in today’s Oireachtas reports on family and child homelessness. We particularly welcome the fact that both committees rightly recognise that housing is at the root of the homeless crisis, and that both reports recommend that we now move forward on the issue of a right to housing by considering whether a constitutional right to housing could be enshrined “as a matter of urgency”.
“The Simon Communities have long called for such a right, and while we recognise that this will not be the single solution to ending our housing crisis, we firmly believe that constitutional change will increase the scope of actions that the Oireachtas can take to address this crisis.
“As we approach the end of 2019, it’s worth reminding ourselves that almost 10,400 people are now in emergency accommodation in Ireland, a figure that is over 50% higher than it was this time three years ago. We cannot allow such a trend to become normalised in our society, and those forced to seek emergency accommodation as a result must not be institutionalised.
“The recommendations today signal agreement on these fundamental commitments, and we now need to press on with their implementation.”
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About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 13,000 men, women and children. We have 50 years of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level. Whatever the issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information, please visit www.simon.ie.
• Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement.
• Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction.
• Housing with support and Housing First services.
• Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports).
• Personal development, education, training and employment services.
• Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs.