'The system is in complete turmoil' - Charity calls on Housing Minister to resign after latest homelessness data

'The system is in complete turmoil' - Charity calls on Housing Minister to resign after latest homelessness data
File photo of Anthony Flynn.

A charity has called on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to resign after the latest data from his Department shows that the number of people officially recorded as homeless remains above 10,000.

Figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government show the total number of people homeless during May was 10,253, down from 10,378 during the previous month.

The officially recorded number of people accessing emergency accommodation has been above 10,000 since February.

Of the 10,253 recorded in May, 3,749 were children.

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn accused Mr Murphy of failing those experiencing homelessness.

“While the reduction in the number of people that are homeless is welcomed it is now time that the Taoiseach considers the Minister’s position,” Mr Flynn said.

“The minister has made no headway in tackling the crisis and homelessness has considerably worsened throughout his tenure.

"The system is in complete turmoil, the crisis is a direct result of systemic failures from government and the complete lack of social and affordable housing."

“The main cause of homelessness is evictions from the private rental market and until we stem the flow of evictions the tsunami will just keep on coming.

“Time is now up for Eoghan Murphy, he needs to do the decent thing and step aside. Last year 1,606 people were reclassified and removed from the homeless figures and we hope this reduction is not the result of a similar reclassification by the Minister.

"An aggressive plan to tackle the crisis is what is now required here to really tackle the ongoing emergency,” Mr Flynn said.

While welcoming the slight reduction in the figures, Mr Murphy described the number of children in emergency accommodation as “unacceptable”.

“Unfortunately, there's no silver bullet when it comes to the crisis that we face in housing at the moment,” Mr Murphy said.

“There's no one single measure that's going to solve it. It's a series of measures that we're implementing that are going to bring us to a more stable housing environment.

“It is difficult to catch up on what might be 10 years of under-building in housing in a two- or three-year period. It's not possible, but we're pulling every lever that we can.

“It's not just about building new homes, which we are doing, but it's also about getting homes that might have been used for tourism accommodation, short-term letting, back into the long-term rental market.

“That's why when I work with the opposition, they support things like the effective banning of short-term letting, that's coming into effect next month. They support things like the extra security and protections we bought to the rental sector, which we passed in the Dáil last month.

“So there is a lot of work with the opposition to support what we are doing. And since we began our program of work, in the second half of 2016, more than 52,000 new homes have become available to live in.

"That's not a small number. It's almost half of where we need to get to. But that's what's planned under Rebuilding Ireland, we need to continue to work this plan, bringing new reforms where we can like around short term letting, which is what we're doing now from the first of July,” he said.

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