Kenny urged to view homelessness support

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been urged to attend a homelessness charity’s nightly support system after they found a nine-months pregnant woman sleeping rough on the streets.

An independent campaign group issued the invitation to Mr Kenny and Housing Minister Jan O’Sullivan as it warned seven people are being made homeless in Dublin City every day.

Speaking at a conference yesterday, Inner City Helping Homeless director, Anthony Flynn, said a growing crisis in the capital is causing emergency situations for hundreds of people every night.

And despite a recent commitment by the Government to ring-fence up to €29.7m over the next two years to address the nationwide problem, he said officials are failing to do enough.

“The plan is not working. The money is welcomed but it’s not going to go a long way in terms of a long-term solution.

“We’re asking the Government for a long-term investment plan where void homes are repaired and long-term housing is secured.”

Speaking at the homelessness conference, volunteers for the Inner City Helping Homeless group said they fed 122 people who were sleeping rough in Dublin on Wednesday night.

The individuals included a 24-year-old woman who is nine months pregnant, a 20-year-old woman who recently had to hand her newborn baby into care because she “saw no future”, and men living on the streets who had no shoes.

Urging Mr Kenny and Ms O’Sullivan to come out with the group to see the reality on the streets, one volunteer and Independent local election candidate for Dublin Central, Gary Gannon, said he could not understand how officials do not show “compassion and a social conscience” on the issue.

Yesterday’s conference was backed by a number of candidates in today’s local and European elections, including People before Profit councillor and Dublin MEP candidate, Brid Smith.

She said it is no longer good enough for councils to put people into hotels as a short-term solution to the homelessness crisis, as when tourists arrive this form of accomm-odation becomes unavailable.

After considerable concern in recent days over the growing homelessness crisis, at the start of this week the Coalition promised to provide 900 dwellings to help tackle the situation every year for the next three years.

A plan includes 2,700 houses to come from refurbished local authority stock and existing State buildings, new construction and property controlled by Nama.

Ms O’Sullivan has said she hopes to eliminate homelessness in Dublin by 2016.

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