Ireland’s homelessness issue could be solved by Christmas if the political will existed to do it, Fr. Peter McVerry has suggested.
In a documentary film on the housing crisis, which can be viewed below, Fr. McVerry also claims that a disconnect between rent supplements offered by the Department of Social Protection and current market rent rates are responsible for hundred of families living in hotels.
“In September the Government are going to give €120m back to people who have registered with Irish Water ... ” said Fr.McVerry.
“(€120m) would purchase between five and six hundred houses and we have almost 600 families living in hotel bedrooms. Every one of them could be housed by Christmas, if we had the will to do it,” he added.
In Dublin there are five new people becoming homeless everyday according official statistics.
In July 2015, 77 families became homeless in Ireland. 155 were children and 70 of those families had never experienced homelessness before.
Speaking in the film Paul Sheehan, communications manager of the Simon Community in Cork said the existing rental market was creating a “perfect storm” on housing.
“There are fewer houses to rent on the market than there has been in decades. Rents are spiralling out of control, people can’t get mortgages which is adding to the pressure on the rental market and the supplement that the Department of Social Protection gives people if they need help with their rent does not meet the the current market rents,” he said.
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