Don's split up families, plead councillors
Large families who find themselves homeless in Wexford are being split up and divided between the women's refuge and men's hostel, a according to Cllr. Ger Carthy.
'I understand that that's the solution being given to families who cam't find accommodation', the Independent councillor told officials at a Borough District Council meeting.
'Splitting up families is not a solution,' he said angrily.'I have a family who will be out of their accommodation at the end of the month. Are they going to be split up,' he asked.
Director of Services Tony Larkin told him that this kind of question was impossible to answer in a public forum, in front of the press.'I'm sure the housing department will do its best. There is a housing crisis,' he reminded Cllr. Carthy, adding that the Council spent all its housing budget last year and will do so again this year.
Cllr. Carthy commented that while Government financial allocations for housing have improved, many of the Council's housing projects are at the design stage and are not 'shovel ready'.
He was informed by a housing officer that the Council purchased 116 houses last year.
Tony Larkin said a better solution lay in providing extra supply by building more houses and that would start happening on a gradual basis. 'Last year, it was almost all purchases but you could anticipate a situation in two years when it will be all building.'
Cllr. Deirdre Wadding said there are cases where councillors know of people who are due to become homeless in a few months because their rents are going up.
'I think we should pass a resolution agreeing that we won't split families up. This situation has been created by the long-term neglect of social and public housing. I don't think we can stand over families literally being ripped apart,' she said.
Cllr. Lisa McDonald said the national policy in relation to rent controls doesn't seem to be seeping down to Wexford where the average rent is €750 for a house, a figure that is not matched by rent assistance. 'A lot of these families should be in social housing but we are not providing for them,' she said.