Homelessness a humanitarian crisis, say Simon Communities

At a forum organised by the Simon Communities in Dublin, the charity argued the issue of housing and homelessness was now “out of control” and needed immediate Government intervention.

Recent figures from the Department of Environment show that there are almost 5,000 people currently in emergency accommodation, including 707 families, 1,495 children, and 2,413 single people.

The charity accused the Government of failing badly in its response to the crisis. Simon claimed it would not meet its commitment to end long-term homelessness and rough sleeping by 2016.

National spokesperson for the Simon Communities, Niamh Randall, said the Government was failing vulnerable families around the country

“It’s a crisis and this Government is failing many men, women, and children each day that they do not take action on this.

“The Simon Communities around the country work with over 6,000 people annually but we are struggling to continue to meet growing demand.

Homelessness a humanitarian crisis, say Simon Communities

“This is a humanitarian crisis and we really need everybody to come together to play their part, otherwise the future for people who are homeless and at risk is very bleak,” she said.

Ms Randall said that the Government had the power to make the changes needed to address this crisis. “We also need the Government to play its part in addressing the growing numbers of people homeless, those at risk and those in housing distress,” she said. “They have the power to make the changes needed which include short, medium, and long-term measures.”

Homelessness a humanitarian crisis, say Simon Communities

The group is seeking:

  • An increase in rent supplement, alongside rent certainty measures.
  • Better use to be made of existing empty State properties and empty local authority homes. If they are void or derelict, the maintenance work required must be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
  • Enhanced prevention and early intervention responses in order to support people to remain in their homes where possible.
  • A commitment to explore and implement new and innovative ideas to help address the crisis as quickly as possible such as modular housing.

The charity said any emergency measures must only be used as urgent, short-term responses and be accompanied by long-term plans.

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