Change of tack needed as 412 people homeless in Limerick

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FINE Gael has been told to change its policies on reducing homelessness as latest figures show that 265 adults and 147 children were found to be homeless in Limerick in May.

According to the Department of Housing and Local Government, there were 79 families homeless in Limerick in May — 54 of which were single-parent families.

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Limerick Labour TD and former Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan described the figures as “completely unacceptable”.

“Housing figures have now reached 10,253 people including 3,749 children. As primary schools across the country break up for the summer, thousands of children are facing into a difficult summer in temporary accommodation or hotels. This is a damning indictment of Fine Gael’s Rebuilding Ireland plan,” she said.

“Every time the monthly homeless figures come out we see more families, and more children, being locked out of the housing market. There was a time when you would ask ‘did the numbers go up’? Nowadays it is a case of ‘by how many?”

The Department of Housing report shows that 10,253 people accessed emergency accommodation across the State. 6,504 adults and 3,749 children experienced homelessness during this period in Ireland, with 1.700 families affected.

“Fine Gael’s housing policy is failing our citizens. This seems to be self-evident to everyone except Fine Gael. I can only hope that Minister Murphy does not do homeless families the disrespect to the claim it is otherwise,” she said.

Responding to Deputy O’Sullivan, Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne commented: “There’s no doubt about it, the number of children in emergency accommodation is unacceptable, and there should be no families living in emergency accommodation.

“Deputy O’Sullivan served as a Housing Minister in the last government and I have no doubt she is aware of the complexity of the housing situation in Ireland. The numbers while unacceptably high, fell last month.”

Senator Byrne explained that a National Standards Quality Framework for the delivery of homeless services, which was successfully implemented in the Dublin region, has now commenced national roll out.

“The Framework will improve the quality of services provided to individuals, families and their children who are accessing emergency accommodation, including family hubs.

“I think Deputy O’Sullivan should acknowledge some of the successes that the Rebuilding Ireland plan has brought to people on the social housing waiting list here in Limerick. It’s because of this plan that we have seen social housing developments like Churchfields in Southill, Lord Edward Street and Hyde Road completed and allocated to families.

“We are now seeing new social housing developments in various parts of the city come to fruition like Bourke Avenue, Sycamore Avenue and Wallers Well. It was only announced this week that the construction of 17 new homes in Gough Place may start before the end of 2019,” Senator Byrne added.