Septembers Homeless Report has been released today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
New CEO Catherine Kenny makes her first public statement in response to the report.
“We are alarmed by the rise in the number of people presenting to Emergency Accommodation reported today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. This comes at a time when there is an unprecedented level of scarcity in housing stock, particularly affordable housing. This means the pathways to exiting homelessness are shrinking while the numbers entering emergency accommodation are growing exponentially.
“While we welcome the announcement of the eviction ban as a necessary measure to protect vulnerable people who are fearful of the 30% fuel increases expected this winter, the ban alone is not enough and immediate proactive action must be taken in the meantime to prevent an enormous backslide in April, by which time we expect there will be even greater competition for social and affordable housing given the current trends.
“Unless the Department of Housing invests in the development of social housing and increases delivery through Local Housing Bodies while the ban is in effect, it will provide no comfort to the growing number of people in serious distress over the security of their homes, and serve only as an ominous ticking clock, counting down to a groundswell of evictions down the road. Also critical at this point is the implementation of a cohesive winter plan from now until March with strong collaboration from the Department of Housing, Department of Health, Local Authorities and NGOs to ensure everyone who needs an emergency accommodation bed can access one.
“The time to be creative and innovative is now. There needs to be innovation in the approach to vacant properties and new models of housing and accommodation; it has been clear for quite some time that the current system is just not working.”