Fr.-McVerryPeople Before Profit have slammed the lack of action by Minister Alan Kelly in regards to homelessness and the housing crisis. People Before Profit have also supported the comments of Fr. Peter McVerry in today’s Irish Times and also Sister Stanislaus in calling on the government to declare a national emergency in regards to the homelessness crisis in this country.

Previously in a meeting with the Dublin City Council Corporate Policy Group, People Before Profit councilors had made this call for a national emergency to be called and for the Minister to approach the EU to seek a one off spend on emergency accommodation and homelessness services due to this national emergency. People Before Profit councilors also asked him to allocate the €2bn repayment expected from AIB to an emergency public house building programme.

The housing crisis is in the stage of an epidemic. In July of this year there were 4,668 people homeless in this country. 1,383 of those being children. This equates to a 52% rise in child homelessness.

People Before Profit believe that while the addition of the modular housing units by the County Councils are a positive step some of them are not fit for purpose. It must be noted also that the units which could be used to house people must only be seen as an emergency measure and cannot replace proper bricks an mortar social housing units. In the absence of the governments long term strategy it cannot be allowed for these modular houses to become the long term solution.

Cllr Bríd Smith of People Before Profit said: “Today we have have heard from Fr. McVerry calling on the government to announce a national emergency in regard to the homelessness crisis. We have previously called on Minister Alan Kelly to do this during meetings with him. We have an out of control housing crisis and we can see that the government are not prepared to go the distance and solve this problem. We would also need the support of all other councilors to back up what Fr. McVerry and Sister Stanislaus are campaigning for. These two individuals have been on the coal face of this problem for years and we can see that things are only getting worse.

Cllr Smith continued to say: “Whilst the modular houses are good as an emergency measure, they cannot replace real homes. We are calling on the government to build social housing on a large scale so that we can properly house these people long term. We also need rent controls now and to stop landlords from evicting tenants who are unable to pay their rent. Modular houses should only be an emergency measure and cannot be the long term solution to this problem.

Cllr Smith concluded by saying: “I totally agree with Fr. McVerry and Sister Stanislaus that we have a huge crisis on our hands and still the government is reluctant to seek any kind of effective long term solution to the problem. The government seem to rely on the market to solve all the problems but we can clearly see that this does not work. This is unacceptable. There are huge amounts of council owned land which could be used for building social housing and we have been told by the Minister that money is not an issue. My question is why does the government refuse to act on this?”