Cian O'Callaghan TD

Thousands of local authority homes lie empty as the number of people in emergency accommodation reaches another grim record

The latest record homelessness figures further highlight the Government’s laissez-faire approach to tackling the housing crisis, according to Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan.

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

“With Christmas now just one month away, figures released today show the highest number of people experiencing homelessness and living in emergency accommodation ever recorded. There are now 11,397 people living in emergency accommodation, with 3,480 of them children.

“The number of people in emergency accommodation has increased by 29 percent in the past year, while the number of children is up by 38 percent during the same period.

“It is important to remember that these figures do not include people sleeping rough on our streets, in tents, on floors or on couches.

“Shockingly, a report published earlier this month by the National Oversight and Audit Commission showed that almost 4,500 council owned homes are currently vacant.

“The report also revealed that the average time taken to re-let council owned homes in between tenants has been increasing since 2018 and averaged almost eight months in 2021.

“The fact that thousands of publicly owned homes are sitting empty is a slap in the face to those who are struggling to put a roof over their head. Sadly, however, it is indicative of this Government’s attitude to tackling the housing crisis.

“It is equally hard to understand how hundreds of millions of euros allocated to building new local authority homes this year remains unspent. Yesterday, the Minister for Housing brought revised estimates to the Oireachtas Housing Committee. These showed that €337 million that was allocated to build new local authority homes this year is being reallocated to other areas, including €100 million to be used paying off loans.

“The Government keep on telling us that their housing plan is working – clearly it is not as the situation gets worse every day for people struggling to find somewhere affordable to live.”

November 25, 2022

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