More than 200 families lost homes in first two months of this year

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More than 200 families became homeless in the first two months of the year, according to Focus Ireland.

The charity for homeless people said 83 families became homeless in February and were referred to its family services in Dublin during the month.

Its latest report states that 363 children have become homeless since the start of the year.

“These numbers clearly show that the family homeless crisis is continuing to deepen with over 200 families becoming homeless in the first two months of 2016 compared to a total of 739 becoming homeless during the whole of last year,” said Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland.

“It’s not enough for this caretaker Government and the next Government to say they want to tackle homelessness and name-check it as a priority. They have to commit to a coherent set of actions required to achieve this urgently,” Mr Allen said.

“It is important to highlight that while the number of families becoming homeless is shocking, the situation would be much worse without the work Focus Ireland does in supporting families to move out of homelessness into secure housing,” he said.

Mr Allen said February saw the highest number of families leaving homelessness during a single month.

“Focus Ireland supported 36 families to secure a home and move out of homelessness. Three other families using our services found housing themselves.”

Of those 39 families, 15 moved to local authority homes; 12 moved into private rented accommodation with the support of the Housing Assistance Programme or similar schemes; four moved to social housing owned by approved housing bodies; four moved to supported accommodation; three found alternative accommodation themselves, and one availed of Dublin Simon’s Support to Live Independently (SLI) scheme.

Meanwhile Focus Ireland said the eviction of tenants by ‘vulture funds’ highlights how many families become homeless as a result of their landlords selling their property.

It said it would be ‘reasonably simple’ for the Government to change this by legislating so that tenancy agreements would have to run their full course.

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