Government inaction over oncoming winter homeless crisis 'unforgivable' - Focus Ireland

The charity launched its annual report on Tuesday, showing it helped 1,288 households to avoid or leave homelessness last year
Government inaction over oncoming winter homeless crisis 'unforgivable' - Focus Ireland

Muireann Duffy

The Government is not doing enough to avoid the homelessness crisis from deepening this winter, according to the life president and founder of Focus Ireland, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy.

The charity's annual report, published on Tuesday, showed Focus Ireland helped 1,288 households to avoid or leave homelessness in 2021.

This included 521 households which were prevented from entering homelessness due to the charity's intervention, with 12,300 people engaging with Focus Ireland's services and over 7,500 offered advice and information during the year.

Just over 400 young people were supported by youth and aftercare services, while 284 adults availed of the charity's Preparation for Education, Training and Employment programme.

Pride

While the charity's chief executive Pat Dennigan said they are "incredibly proud" of the work detailed in the 2021 report, he said it was regrettable that the number of people in emergency accommodation has hit record levels for the past two months in a row.

"In Budget 2023, we called for urgent action to stop landlords from fleeing the private rented housing market and evicting their tenants.

"We need to keep people in their homes in the medium-term while home-building tries to catch up with the huge demands and pressures we face.

"We still think there needs to be more urgency and investment, and despite the lack of action the Government must be honest with its targets and acknowledge that when we miss our targets, we have missed providing a home for a family and a household," he said.

The recent lack of action in Budget 2023 is a clear example of the poor political decisions which will mean that more landlords will sell up and leave the market

Speaking at the launch of the annual report, Sr Stanislaus said rising homelessness "is not inevitable", adding it is the result "of the wrong political decisions".

"If the right options are taken, we can ease this terrible human crisis instead of allowing it to deepen again.

"Focus Ireland believes that without immediate government action, the crisis will continue to deepen this winter as supply is at all-time low.

"The recent lack of action in Budget 2023 is a clear example of the poor political decisions which will mean that more landlords will sell up and leave the market, and more people will become homeless.

"This lack of action is unforgivable as we know most emergency accommodation is full and there are an increasing number of people who have no homes and who are not counted in the official figures."

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