Plight of homeless children worsens

by Gazette Reporter
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The number of children living in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region has more than doubled in the past year, according to the latest figures from the Dublin region homeless executive.
There were 1,343 children living in emergency accommodation in September 2015, up from 640 in September 2014, which is an increase of over 100%.
These numbers have been rising steadily since the start of the year. In January the number was 780, this rose to 803 in February, and 911 in March. By April the figure was up to 970, and 1,034 in May and 1,122 in June. July saw the figure rise to 1,185 and August saw it reach 1,275.
The total number of adults and children, who were homeless at the end of September 2015 is 3,673, up from 1,078 in September 2014.
Chair of the Dublin City Council housing committee Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF) said the figures were “shocking”, and a “damning indictment of the Government’s failed housing policies”.
“These latest statistics cut through Minister Kelly’s spin. The housing crisis in Dublin is getting worse by the day and this evidence proves it.
“No amount of spin will change that. We need solutions and we need them now. We have proposed that the Government release the promised funding to build social housing in Dublin. It is only a social housing building programme that will provide the long-term solution to the current homeless crisis.”
He went on to say that the number of people on the housing crisis is nothing short of disgraceful and each of these families reflect a deeper housing crisis.
“The Minister promised to release funding for housing projects. I sincerely hope today’s figures encourage him to finally do that,” he said.
This follows a forum on the housing crisis which took place in Ballymun recently hosted by Workers’ Party Dublin North West candidate Jimmy Dignam,
Speakers at the forum included Fr Peter McVerry, who outlined the scale of the housing emergency, and predicted that the emergency would worsen drastically over the cold winter months.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment defended the Government saying that over €1.7bn is to be invested in social housing between 2015 and 2016.
“Investment in housing infrastructure has again been given priority in this budget and over 17,000 housing units will be delivered in 2016. Over 50% (€811m) of the Department’s 2016 budget will go directly to support a range of housing programmes, and the continued delivery of the social housing strategy 2020.
“In addition some €112m funding will be provided directly by local authorities to meet housing needs,” said the spokesperson.
They went on to say that Minister Alan Kelly is making €70m available in 2016, which is an increase of 32% on the 2015 allocation of €53m.
“Nobody can seriously question this Government’s commitment to dealing with housing,” they said.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has announced that Nama will build 18, 000 homes in Dublin by 2020.
Nama said that it has no additional information on the project at present.

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