Charity wants focus to be on increasing rent supplements

Ger Spillane of Focus Ireland

by Alan Jacques

[email protected]

Ger Spillane of Focus Ireland
Ger Spillane of Focus Ireland

FOCUS Ireland has confirmed it is set to deliver 40 homes across Limerick City and County under the Government’s first significant housing development programme for the last number of years.

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is providing over €13 million to fund the acquisition of existing buildings and the construction of new homes to deliver 110 homes in Limerick. The move is part of the national Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) programme under which Minister Kelly has earmarked €153 million to deliver over 1,000 homes nationwide.

Focus Ireland Limerick manager Ger Spillane welcomed the funding but explained it is a small step towards meeting the growing need for affordable housing in the city and county. The charity is now working with the Department of the Environment and the local authority to purchase 40 homes in Limerick.

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“We are keen to deliver them this year as they will provide a place to call home for people who are currently homeless or in housing need. However, I would highlight that this is 40 homes against a backdrop of over 4,600 households on the housing waiting list in Limerick. So, while welcome, it is no more than a small step towards meeting the growing need for affordable housing across the county,” said Mr Spillane.

Focus Ireland already provides a place to call home for 650 households in homes they own or lease around the country. This latest CAS funding means the charity are set to provide 40 more homes here in Limerick and another 70 much-needed homes nationwide.

However, the charity has warned that the Government decision earlier this year not to increase rent supplement levels has caused more families and single people to become homeless as they can’t simply afford to pay rising rents.

“It is really positive news about the funding for the 40 homes in Limerick but it’s also Focus Ireland’s duty not to shy away from highlighting other Government policy decisions that are actually causing homelessness. The reality is that there are serious difficulties for single people and families securing suitable accommodation within the existing rent supplement limits in Limerick.

“We will continue to call for rent supplement to be raised to help keep people in their existing homes to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place,” Ger vowed.

Meanwhile, Focus Ireland called for people in difficulties to contact the charity’s advice and information services in Limerick on 061-405300.