THE Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien has said he will use every mechanism possible to tackle homelessness in a serious way.
Figures released during the week indicated that homeless figures in Cork City are up 26% since Micheál Martin became Taoiseach in 2020.
Mr O’Brien, speaking after he visited six newly constructed social housing developments in three Co Cork towns on Friday, said the issue of homelessness is very much on their agenda.
“I met with the Taoiseach on Thursday night and homelessness was on the agenda. I did flag before Christmas that we would see an increase in homeless numbers over the coming months before the supply kicked in.
“Our approach to homelessness is a housing-based solution approach which means getting people out of emergency accommodation and into permanent homes,” he said.
The minister said the task is not easy, but they are seeing a reduction in the number of rough sleepers nationwide.
“In Cork I met two families who had been in emergency accommodation and who earlier this year got their lifetime home. That is what we are doing. It is not easy. There are many reasons for homelessness, and we need to help.
“We have done a good job in relation to Housing First which is helping those who are at the sharpest end of homelessness, many of whom may have addiction or mental health issues or physical issues.
“We are seeing a continued reduction in the number of rough sleepers nationwide. Housing First provides a home but also provides the wrap around services that they need.
“We are rolling out another 1,400 of them right around the country.
“There are lots of priorities in housing, but the number one thing is to make sure that everyone has a safe and secure home, built to good quality and is affordable to rent or to purchase,” he said.