Cian O'Callaghan TD

Alarming growth in the number of people homeless requires an emergency response

The latest homelessness figures released today demand no less than an emergency response from the Government, according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan, who is the party’s Housing spokesperson, said:

“The latest figures reveal that there are now 3,220 children homeless – an increase of 47 percent on this time last year. There are now 10,805 people who are homeless and living in emergency accommodation, which is a 32 percent increase in the last 12 months.

“This is going to require an immediate response from the Government. Homelessness is at a record high, but there is no plan. There are no new measures, no emergency response – nothing.

“There are reports from around the country that emergency accommodation is full, with people being turned away. As a result, there will be a rise in people sleeping on the streets, in tents and in cars this winter.

“This is now way beyond a crisis – we need an emergency response from the Minister for Housing.

“This week’s budget was a missed opportunity to tackle homelessness. The Social Democrats called for the funding for homeless prevention to be doubled, but the Government failed to act.

“The 90,000 vacant homes in the country must be urgently brought back into use. The Government’s 0.3 percent Vacant Homes Tax is far too weak to work and must be set at a much higher rate. In France, for example, it is 12.5 percent.

“Does the Government not realise the extent of human pain caused when people lose their home and that very strong actions are required to quickly increase the number of properties available to buy or rent?

“Ultimately, homelessness can only be tackled by building far more social and affordable homes. The Government talks a good talk, but their delivery rate is abysmal.

“In 2021, they built no new affordable homes. This year, they have delivered just 325 – nowhere near the scale of what is needed.

“I’m now calling on the Minister for Housing to produce an emergency response to growing levels of homelessness.”

September 30, 2022

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