The Simon Communities in our Pre Budget Submission called for action on three fronts to achieve the goal of ending long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough by 2016 – access to housing; access to support in housing; and action to prevent homelessness. It must be remembered that Budget 2014 is the seventh austerity budget in a row thus the cumulative effect of cuts and reductions in spending cannot be underestimated.
We specifically asked the Government not to cut the Homeless Budget at the very minimum, and if possible to restore the homeless budget to 2012 levels. The Simon Communities welcomes that the Homeless Budget was maintained at 2013 levels and also welcomes the €30 million housing stimulus package. This is however limited as the number of people becoming homeless and at risk of homelessness continues to rise and there are over 100,000 households on the social housing waiting list. Critically, there is no mention of ringfencing of a portion of any such social housing for people moving out of homelessness. This is not sufficient to address the homeless crisis. For people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, access to appropriate housing and support is absolutely vital.