Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that it is vital that the Government takes meaningful action on homelessness and affordable housing supply in Budget 2020
There were 10,338 men, women and children in emergency accommodation during the week of August 19 to 25, according to the latest figures by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. This represents an increase of 63 people in emergency accommodation since July. The new figures show:
- 6,490 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation.
• 1,726 families are living in emergency accommodation.
• 3,848 children are now stuck in emergency accommodation..
Speaking at the Simon Community Annual Conference in Dublin this morning, Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that addressing social and affordable housing supply nationwide must be a central priority for Government in its Budget 2020 plans.
“Over the last eight years we have seen a number of ‘landmark moments’ in the homelessness and housing crisis. Budget 2012 saw the introduction of the capital gains tax exemptions that supercharged the current financialisation of housing. The 2014 Local and European elections saw the political system wake up to the strength of public dismay at the growing homelessness crisis. 2015 saw the number of children in homelessness pass 1,000. 2019 saw the official passing of 10,000 people in homelessness. If the increase in homelessness is not reflected in the ambition of Budget 2020 to provide social and affordable homes, the Brexit Budget of 2020 will prove to be another of these ‘landmark moments’ for those experiencing the trauma of homelessness. With an election almost certain next year followed by government formation in the mist of Brexit fallout, those experiencing homeless could be living with the outcomes of this budget for two years or more.
“These figures must be seen by Government as a call to action, or we are at risk of seeing another winter of increased levels of homelessness, the fourth since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland. The pace of building much-needed social and affordable homes is too slow and there is an over-reliance on a private rental sector that has long been struggling to cope with demand. It’s vital that the Government now shows ambition and provides hope in Budget 2020 by taking meaningful action to address this. With Brexit now also rapidly approaching, it is timely to remember that it was the most vulnerable in Ireland who suffered most in the aftermath of the economic crisis. We need to ensure that they are to the forefront of government actions as we face into a budget framed in the context of the Brexit uncertainty. We need to focus on increasing the housing infrastructure that will provide affordable homes, if those in housing exclusion and homelessness are to have any chance of weathering the potential economic difficulties that lie ahead.
“The Simon Communities believe it is important to realise that this crisis is not intractable; we know there are solutions that will have a meaningful impact on ending housing insecurity and homelessness for people. There must be a focus on prevention and keeping people in the homes that they already have. On the supply side, new solutions such as the provision of sustainable cost rent accommodation at the scale required now need to become the new norm in addressing this housing crisis.”
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