CORK Simon has hit out the Rebuilding Ireland programme, saying it is not working and it needs to be reviewed.
The Emergency Accommodation figures for February 2019, published by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government, have revealed the number of adults in emergency accommodation in Cork breached the 400-mark for the first time.
A total of 402 adults were in emergency accommodation in Cork, the highest number on record and a 30% increase in 12 months.
The number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation in the South West (Cork & Kerry) in February 2019 breached the 800-mark for the first time.
There were 122 families with 283 children in emergency accommodation in the South West in February 2019. This is the highest on record. The number of families increased by 34% in 12 months. The number of dependents or children increased by 27% in 12 months.
Cork Simon Communications and Campaigns Manager Paul Sheehan said the figures were disheartening.
“It’s clear that Rebuilding Ireland - the Government’s response to the housing and homelessness crisis - is not working.”
Mr Sheehan called for the programme to be reviewed.
“It’s clear now that the targets are far too conservative. We believe the council is doing all it can in the context of Rebuilding Ireland. They are working to the targets - and by all accounts exceeding those targets.
“It’s rebuilding Ireland that needs to be reviewed.”
Mr Sheehan said that the pace of build is not fast enough to meet the demand and also that the targets of the Rebuilding Ireland Scheme are not high enough.
“The council are working within the confines of the scheme it is not providing enough relief.”
The Cork Simon Communications and Campaigns Manager also said that the majority of people in emergency accommodation were depending on the private rental market to get out of homelessness and there were simply not enough houses available and the ones that were are overpriced and these people were essentially locked out of the market.
Mr Sheehan said Cork Simon would like to the legislation that is currently being processed to strengthen the security of tenants to be expedited.
“If we can stop the flow of people who are exiting the private rental sector that would be a huge plus,” Mr Sheehan said.
“This legislation is a matter of urgency.”
As well as this, Mr Sheehan said he wondered about the impact of rent pressure zones and were they being effective.
“Renting is beyond reach for far too many,” Mr Sheehan said.
In terms of Cork Simon, Mr Sheehan said that the centre is under a lot of pressure to meet the demand of homeless people, but he said that they were managing.
“There is a bed for everyone who needs it, this is something we keep under constant review.”
Looking ahead, Mr Sheehan said he was more hopeful for the next 12-18-24 months than previously.
“I think we will be able to help a lot more people to find accommodation going forward. We are starting to make inroads and we hope to see the figures coming down in future.”