Limerick councillor calls for homelessness action plan

Labour Party Councillor Conor Sheehan

IN ANTICIPATION of an eviction ban this winter, Limerick Labour Party councillor Conor Sheehan believes that a homelessness action plan must be put in place.

Speaking to the Limerick Post this week, Cllr Sheehan said that with evictions up by 58 per cent this year, he has been inundated with pleas for help.

“People coming to me have received Notices to Quit and cannot access housing, either within the private rented market or from the local authority, and there are now no houses in Limerick within the standard or discretionary HAP limits, according to the Simon Community’s annual Locked Out Report.

“That is frightening,” the City North representative declared.

“Red tape must be removed around the tenant in situ scheme and local authorities such as Limerick City and County Council need additional staffing resources for their housing directorate in order to identify households at risk of homeless and put a plan in place to protect them.”

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The Labour Party called for an eviction ban in light of the housing crisis in March of this year when 9,825 people were living in homelessness.

Since then, over 1,000 people have entered homelessness with most recent figures published by the department in September recording 10,805 people living in homelessness.

“While its introduction at this late stage does nothing to help the many hundreds of people who have been evicted out of their rental accommodation in recent months, it will protect those who remain at risk this winter,” Cllr Sheehan said.

“During the pandemic we saw the impact that an eviction ban can have on preventing people entering homelessness.

“Local authorities must be mandated and resourced to use the duration of the eviction ban to map out people at risk of homelessness in the Private Rental Sector, and to remove red tape and hesitation where there is a tenant in situ and buy the property.

“A report compiling this data must be delivered to the Housing Minister in January so he can prepare for the lifting of the ban and prevent any potential crisis for those at risk,” he concluded.