Seven more people homeless every day, says Focus Ireland
Charity seeks end to austerity in its pre-budget submission to Government
Focus Ireland asserts that the number of families becoming homeless each month in the capital has jumped from eight to 16. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times
In addition to these seven, the charity also asserts that the number of families becoming homeless each month in the capital has jumped from eight to 16.
The figures are contained in the charity’s pre-budget submission to the Government, Put People First, which it is launching today in Dublin. The charity wants the Government to end austerity and replace the policy of public spending retrenchment with one of stimulation, specifically by spending on projects that would help revive the construction industry in a way that would alleviate the plight of the homeless.
Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland, said: “The last five budgets have been dominated by numbers and not the real impact that the decisions taken will have on people. We can’t continue with just relentless austerity measures. We need urgent investment in housing as there are now over 100,000 households on housing waiting lists. We also need steps taken to protect people struggling on low incomes or welfare so we can prevent people from losing their homes.”
Put People First argues the case for €400 million worth of Government spending which it maintains would “help deliver 3,000 homes and boost the economy by creating up to 3,200 jobs in construction and supply”. It was “vital” that there were no cuts to homeless services in next month’s budget. Rather there must be “firm action to protect low income households so people do not lose their existing accommodation and become homeless”, said Mr Allen.
He added: “Focus Ireland would question how the Government can stand over another budget that fails to protect the most vulnerable at the same time Ireland has shelled out €220 million in service charges to the EU and IMF for drawing down loans under the bailout – in addition to the €1.4 billion forked out in interest payments alone last year on the bailout.”
The submission outlines what it says are necessary measures to help prevent more people losing their homes and help others move on from homelessness. These include:
l Delivering a €400 million boost to capital funding to build social housing in Dublin as part of the stimulus package to create jobs and meet social needs;
l No further cuts in Department of Environment or Health Service Executive funding for homeless services;
l Maintaining social welfare payment for people of working age