Thursday 22 August 2019

Homeless protests to increase at county hall

County Hall protesters, Rory Lonnigan, Richard Kelly, John Paul Byrne and Michael O'Brien
County Hall protesters, Rory Lonnigan, Richard Kelly, John Paul Byrne and Michael O'Brien
The tent erected by Richard outside County Hall.

By David tucker

A homeless man has pledged to camp out outside County Hall until the local authority 'fulfills its duty to provide emergency accommodation' for himself and others in similar situations.

Richard Kelly, along with other homeless people, supported by Wexford Housing Action Group, staged a tented protest at the council offices last week and he says they will carry on until the local authority 'meets its obligations'.

Wexford Housing Action Group said the protest was aimed at underpinning its campaign calling on the council to fulfil their duty under the 2009 Housing Act to provide emergency accommodation for homeless individuals. This legislation places the responsibility to provide emergency accommodation on the Local Authority, while allowing for the cost of this to be recouped from central funds.

'Richard has been homeless for over three months now. His health is seriously deteriorating due to sleeping rough, out in all types of weather and damp conditions. The council are aware of all Richard's health issues, as he continues to engage with them on a weekly basis, but they are refusing to fulfil their statutory duty, said Aislinn Wallace on behalf of HAG.

'Unfortunately Richard is not the only rough sleeper in Wexford. Our group receives calls for support from many homeless individuals every week. We will be mounting a weekly protest at the council every Tuesday from 9.30 a.m. for any one who is homeless, but not receiving the support they need from the council,' she said.

'The council says they can't help me out. I am on the waiting list and on the waiting list at Ozanem House and all I want is a little bit of help, said Richard, who is from Wexford town.

Wexford County Council said it does not comment on indivual case.

However, it said it manages homeless presentations 'in accordance with our Emergency Accommodation Protocol which sets out the Council's process and criteria for the assessment of persons seeking emergency accommodation'.

'We remind persons seeking emergency accommodation that they must not deliberately make themselves homeless. Where it is deemed that clients have deliberately made themselves homeless.. homeless services may be refused. This includes such issue as anti-social behaviour and non-payment of rent.

'We also remind those in emergency accommodation that they must act reasonably and responsibly in the use of that accommodation.

'Homeless services may be refused where persons previously left emergency accommodation, or behaved in a manner that resulted in their expulsion from that accommodation,' said the counci's communications manager David Minogue.

Wexford People

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