Focus Ireland calls for right to home to be added to Constitution

Housing group issues five-point plan to tackle homelessness and housing crisis

Sleeping rough in Dublin. Focus Ireland’s director of advocacy Mike Allen criticised the last government’s policies which “helped transform the housing crisis into a homeless emergency”

Sleeping rough in Dublin. Focus Ireland’s director of advocacy Mike Allen criticised the last government’s policies which “helped transform the housing crisis into a homeless emergency”

 

Housing charity Focus Ireland wants the right to a home to be added to the Constitution to balance the interests of hard-pressed families and so-called vulture funds.

The proposal comes with a specific reference to the situation in Tyrrelstown in Dublin where scores of renting households face eviction as their homes look set to be sold. It is part of the organisation’s five-point plan to tackle the State’s housing and homeless crisis.

Also included is a suggestion that the next government should set a deadline for ending family homelessness, with the latest figures showing 884 families were without stable accommodation in January. Another aim is for a target date to be set to end long-term homelessness and rough sleeping.

Acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny had said he hoped to resolve the issue by the end of this year, but advocacy groups believe the timeline is unrealistic.

On top of the existing €3.8 billion commitment from the Government to introduce 35,000 social housing units to the market by 2020, Focus Ireland wants to see 40,000 such units supplied by the end of the next government’s term.

The plan also envisages an end to the “youth homeless trap” which has seen more than 500 young people enter emergency accommodation.

Emergency

Mike Allen

He said the developments in Tyrrelstown had left those who were renting vulnerable even in cases where they were keeping up with their payments.

Focus Ireland has sent its five-point plan to political party leaders, and it hopes the measures will be central to any future government policy on eradicating homelessness and providing more social housing.