Gov target of ending homelessness by 2016 unlikely

A government report reveals it is unlikely to hit its targets for ending long-term homelessness by 2016.

According to a report carried by The Irish Times, the Homelessness Oversight Group said those goals are becoming more politically difficult as families compete for scarce housing resources.

Meanwhile, Focus Ireland is calling on the Government to increase the rent supplement. The group helped over 10,000 people in 2013 who were either already living on the streets, or at risk of becoming homeless.

Acting CEO of Focus Ireland, Mark Byrne, said there was a 25% jump in people seeking their help and action is needed now.

"One of the stark realities is that more than one family every day is becoming homeless in Dublin alone," he said.

"Many of these families have never been homeless before, and are losing their accommodation as rent supplement payments no longer cover rent to meet the increased … payments people face."

He said unless the rent supplement payment was increased, many would struggle "to keep a roof over their heads".

The Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin, claimed that tackling homelessness was the top priority for the new Minister for the Environment.

"He's going to pick up from the sterling work done by Jan O'Sullivan," Howlin said. "Jan has already brought into play 2,000 additional houses this year … with stimulus money I was able to provide for her."

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