Reacting to the news that 1,000 children were homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Dublin during one week last month, Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, said that reports of a recovery and economic growth mean absolutely nothing to these poor unfortunates and is a million miles away from their own personal circumstances.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The number of homeless children across the country has now exceeded 1,000 for the first time according housing agency, Focus Ireland .
“In March, 911 children in Dublin were registered with their families as being homeless and are now living in emergency accommodation according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
“This is a huge jump of 108 from the previous month’s figures.
“1,482 people were in emergency accommodation in the last week of March and this is made up of 411 families, again another increase of 41 from the previous month’s
“I have to agree with the Homeless Executive when they say that services across Dublin’s four local authorities are facing ‘unprecedented demand’ for places at the moment. Housing demand accounts for the largest number of visitors to my constituency office and would appear to back that assertion.
“Focus Ireland quite rightly puts the blame fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Department of Social Protection’s and their blank refusal to increase rent supplement rates, for the rise in this homelessness.
“Increasingly families are unable to afford the rents which landlords can now demand. Many rent supplement recipients are also being forced to increasingly hand over more of their social welfare payments in illegal top-ups demanded by some unscrupulous landlords.
“The personal circumstances of homeless people and families are different, but increasingly many of them tell a story that they have lost their home because of the rising rent levels have simply become too high to pay on the limited income they are receiving.
“Housing advocates are quite right in linking the rise in evictions and homelessness of large numbers of families to the direct and inevitable consequence of the Department of Social Protections failed policy.
“The Government have also so far refused to introduce any realistic measures to regulate rent levels which are now out of control in Dublin.
“The cost to the taxpayer of having so many families living in B&Bs and hotel rooms is enormous and growing with every 50 families who are homeless costing the State €3m per annum to house.
“They currently spend about half a billion euro subsidising private landlords and this is set to increase due to government plans to allow them an increased private tax subsidy.
“The social cost to the families and to the future of these children is incalculable.
“Surely the answer lies in increasing investment in housing and regulating rents is a more sustainable solution.
“Unfortunately increasing reports of recovery and economic growth mean absolutely nothing to the 1000 children in Emergency Accommodation and is a million miles away from their own real personal circumstances.”