Tag Archive: #homelessness


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Sickening news this morning that homeless figures have increased yet again to over 7000 (including 2500 children). When I raised it with the Minister – all we get is the same old platitudes which will mean the next figures will be another increase! We need the 50,000 empty homes in cities across Ireland to be taken over by the councils immediately, we need this government to stop relying on the private landlords to deliver social housing and we need an emergency programme to build council houses. In Dun Laoghaire last year there were only 54 actual council houses with permanent tenancies were built and meanwhile over 500 new applications were received by the council. This madness has to stop.

New council houses promised by 2017 won’t even begin to keep pace with number joining the list this year alone

housingPBPA predicts housing crisis will continue to worsen unless emergency measures are taken

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that the 1,700 new council houses promised nationwide by Minister Alan Kelly by 2017 will not even keep pace with the number of new housing applicants joining housing lists this year.

Deputy Boyd Barrett predicted that the housing crisis will continue to get much worse unless the government dramatically up-scale its plans to build and acquire new council housing.

Deputy Boyd Barrett also said the latest announcement by Minister Kelly was, in fact, simply a repetition of previous announcements and was designed to mask the fact that government plans to deal with the housing crisis depend overwhelmingly on the private sector to meet social housing demand and, as such, were guaranteed to fail.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said to have any impact at all on the housing list an emergency public works programme of at least 10,000 council houses per year over five years would be needed, as well as the more immediate introduction of rent controls and an increase in rent allowance caps to deal with the short-term crisis.

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PBPA TD condemns “disgraceful” decision to disallow priority Dail questions to Minister Alan Kelly about deepening crisis in homeless services and costs of emergency accommodation  

Government attempting to cover-up its responsibility and shift blame, as homeless and housing crisis spirals further out of control. 

censorshipIn a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance, has condemned as “disgraceful” the decision to disallow priority questions he submitted to Environment Minister, Alan Kelly, relating to the deepening crisis in homeless services and the cost of emergency hotel accommodation. Deputy Boyd Barrett has lodged a formal written complaint about the decision with the Ceann Comhairle’s office.

Deputy Boyd Barrett will be questioning Minister Kelly about the worsening housing crisis during priority Question time tomorrow (Thursday April 23rd) morning in the Dail. However, three questions he submitted relating to the crisis in homeless services and the cost of emergency homeless accommodation were ruled out of order.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said it beggared belief that the Minister for Environment would claim that he had “no official responsibility to Dail Eireann,” for questions about the full cost of emergency hotel accommodation for people in homeless services over the last 12 months and whether this represented an increase on the previous 12 months.

The following question was one of the questions disallowed on this basis:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, if he will provide full cost of hotel accommodation being used as emergency accommodation for homeless families and persons for the last 12 months, and the way that compares with the previous 12 months; his views on the new practice recommending that homeless families and individuals may self-accommodate; and if will make a statement on the matter

A question asked about a major increase in delays and problems with the emergency homeless help-line was also disallowed on the grounds that the Minister “had no official responsibility” to the Dail in this area.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said that the decision to disallow questions about some of the worst aspects of the homeless and housing crisis was part of a concerted new policy now being adopted by the government to cover-up its failure to address the housing and homeless crisis and shift the blame onto local authorities.

Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“It is absolutely unbelievable and totally unacceptable that the Minister in charge of housing would claim that he has no responsibility to the Dail on the matter of the increasing cost of emergency hotel accommodation for the rapidly rising number of homeless families and individuals.

The decision to disallow these questions is a cynical and very deliberate political move by the government to cover-up the extent of the housing and homeless crisis and its responsibility for creating that crisis.

The decision to disallow these questions comes hot on the heels of figures published earlier this week showing that the number of children in homeless services has now reached over 1000 – representing a 55% increase on the numbers a year ago.

It has been very clear from various comments and statements made by the Minister and other government TD’s in recent weeks, that the new tactic being adopted the government in relation to the housing and homeless crisis, is to try and distance the government from the problem and shift the blame on to local authorities.

The government are badly embarrassed and exposed by the totally disastrous and deepening housing and homeless crisis. Despite numerous and much-trumpeted announcements that their policies would improve the situation, every policy the government have adopted since entering into office in 2011 has either made the situation worse or failed utterly to address the crisis. The grim facts on the ground speak for themselves and the government has run out of excuses and PR stunts. So, the new ploy is to censor the debate, distance themselves from the issue and pass the blame onto others. It really is a disgrace.”

In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance has condemned what he described as the abysmal failure of the government to address the worsening housing and homelessness crisis.

Deputy Boyd Barrett’s statement came in response to new figures showing a 55% increase in the number of children in homeless services since June of last year – with now over 1400 children homeless, including 411 families and 911 children in Dublin.

Deputy Boyd Barrett, who has repeatedly warned of an impending social housing and homelessness crisis since he was elected to the Dail in 2011, said the worsening crisis was a direct result of government policy, particularly the decision by Minister Joan Burton to reduce rent allowance caps in 2012 and the prior decision in July 2011 to effectively abandon direct council provision in favour of reliance on private landlords and private leasing schemes.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the new HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme currently being rolled out by the government to deal with the housing crisis would further worsen the situation over the coming period.

Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the government and, particularly Minister’s Alan Kelly and Joan Burton, to admit their disastrous mistakes and radically alter their current policy approach to the deepening crisis.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said only an immediate increase in the rent caps, the introduction of rent controls, the requisitioning of empty properties and an emergency programme of council house construction, using the billions in cash reserves held by NAMA, could begin to address both the short and long term situation.

Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“The dramatic and disastrous increase in the number of families and particularly children forced into homelessness is the latest evidence of the utter and abysmal failure of government policy in the area of homelessness and housing. It is an utter disgrace that children, young families and vulnerable individuals are being forced into the most desperate of situations as a direct result of government policy. Everything this government has done since getting into power has made a bad situation worse, and it was all entirely predictable.”

The policy decision to abandon the direct provision of council housing in 2011 started us on the road towards this crisis and then the decision to reduce rent allowance caps made it absolutely certain.

Yet despite the dire consequences of these policy decisions, Joan Burton and Alan Kelly have decided to continue the same polices that led us to the current crisis.

Joan Burton’s decision not to increase rent allowance caps was utterly inexplicable and guaranteed a worsening of the situation. Similarly, Alan Kelly’s decision to rely almost entirely on private landlords and developers under the new HAP’s and leasing schemes will further exacerbate the crisis over the coming months.

The only way to deal with this crisis in both the short and long term is to raise the rent allowance caps now and then move immediately to introduce rent controls, requisition empty properties and use NAMA’s billions in cash reserves to finance a massive emergency programme of direct council house construction.”housing