Emergency housing ‘not a long-term fix’

Boyd Barrett: Coalition policies fuelling homlessnesss

Emergency accommodation is not a viable long-term solution to homelessness, Minister of State for Housing Jan O’Sullivan said, as Government spending in this area reached €23 million this year.

She also highlighted the Government’s €100 million funding commitment to social housing.

Ms O’Sullivan insisted she was committed to ending long-term homelessness by 2016. “We will not do this by continuing to do things as we have always done them.”

Ms O’Sullivan said 80 extra emergency beds had been provided in Dublin since November 1st and some 900 people would move this year to permanent accommodation, up 30 on the 870 last year.

The Minister was speaking during heated exchanges with People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett, in a row about the increased numbers of people sleeping rough in Dublin, up to 139.

Mr Boyd Barrett claimed the Government’s policies were leading directly to homelessness because “they not only fail to address the problem but are in fact making it worse”.

Rent caps
Criticising the reduction in rent caps, the Dún Laoghaire TD named two people about to be evicted, including Ann Heffernan, who was expected to lose her home today, because her rent increased from €1,000 to €1,300. He said Paul Verburgt would be evicted next week because he could not find any accommodation within the rent cap.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Dessie Ellis said increased homelessness was the consequence of "budget after budget which went for the easy targets, cutting the most basic services and having the greatest impact on the most vulnerable".

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is a parliamentary reporter with The Irish Times