Focus Ireland says Cabinet are ‘failing to take homelessness seriously’

Focus Ireland has claimed Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s attempts to address the homelessness crisis are being hampered by a cabinet which is failing to take the issue seriously.

Focus Ireland says Cabinet are ‘failing to take homelessness seriously’

Its director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said that the majority of ministers believe the problem can be resolved with “emergency responses” like the winter initiative, instead of realising the issue is a long-term problem.

Mr Allen said issues like rent supplement, local authority houses and affordable accommodation have been ignored.

"As a result, he said while recent steps by the Government are welcome, it is trying to hit “a moving target” which is “moving away quicker than they are acting”.

“There have definitely been improvements, for example more emergency beds and some of the rent plan announced last week.

"But things aren’t moving fast enough, they’re issues we were talking about two years ago. More emergency beds is a good thing, but it is short-term, it’s not the real problem,” he said.

Asked if Mr Kelly understood the issues behind homelessness, he said: “I think Alan Kelly does, but cabinet don’t, they aren’t doing anything about it. They are only focussing on emergency responses.”

The winter initiative plans are likely to be raised today in a Dáil debateby Socialist party TDs Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy, and Joe Higgins.

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