Blame game won't help the homelessness crisis

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 25/08/2015 | 00:00

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.

A war of words has broken out between Labour TD Joanna Tuffy and homeless agencies including Focus Ireland.

Deputy Tuffy has criticised charities for not yet drawing down funding available to them to provide housing to those in need, yet the organisations have stressed the point that it isn't just plaing and simple funding, but loans, which must eventually be paid back.

The TD shared the view that given the expertise that these agencies have in the area of preventing homelessness, they should be doing more.

The problem is, however that they are dealing with the biggest homelessness crisis the country has ever seen and day after day more people are losing their accommodation and potentially being forced out onto the streets.

The problem is getting worse and isn't helped by the blame game.

Focus Ireland, in turn has shared the view that an increase in rent supplement levels would be a much more effective way to ease the burden and to quickly help more people.

If policy in this area doesn't change then those seeking rental properties will never be able to secure a home as they will never be able to afford the rent.

This isn't just a Dublin problem, or a city problem. Small towns across Ireland are also creaking under the weight of local authority housing lists where they number of applicants is likely to outnumber the amount of properties available for the next decade.

How have we gotten to this stage? A country that was building houses as quickly as Lego? All we did was build and build, to the point where we were awash with unfinished ghost estates and now we are told that we don't enough properties to house people.

It seems that the powers that be aren't actually addressing the reasons that people including families with young children and being left without a roof over their heads.

We are talking about people that never would have dreamed that they would be facing this reality not knowing where to go.

There is a certain amount of discretion within local authorities to increase the level of rent supplement yet the applicant has to go through a battle to get be approved and this is all dependent on whether a suitable private rental property is even available.

Wexford People

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