Government's housing plan fails to address family and child homelessness - SVP

ireland
Government's Housing Plan Fails To Address Family And Child Homelessness - Svp
St Vincent de Paul is concerned about the lack of emphasis on measures to address family and child homelessness and the need to prevent it occurring in the first place. © PA Archive/PA Images
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Kenneth Fox

The Government's Housing for All plan does not address family and child homelessness, according to a new report from St Vincent de Paul.

The charity says they welcome the increased ambition regarding the States role in the provision of social and affordable housing and the commitment to work to eradicate homelessness by 2030.

However, they are concerned about the lack of emphasis on measures to address family and child homelessness and the need to prevent it from occurring in the first place.

The charity is also disappointed that specific measures were not included to address rural homelessness and housing insecurity, an issue of increasing concern for its volunteer members who are working in communities outside the main urban areas.

The analysis of the Housing for All plan is part of a new SVP report, Combating Housing Exclusion in Ireland, which shines a light on the sometimes-hidden aspects of the housing crisis as seen by the organisations’ volunteer members.

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The report estimates that the social housing targets need to be increased to an average of 15,000 per year to meet current demand and reduce the reliance on the private rented sector to accommodate low-income households.

Hidden homeless

In the Housing for All plan the target for 2022 is 9,000. From 2026 to 2030 the target is 10,200 homes per year.

SVP says that the ‘official’ count of 8,132 people experiencing homelessness in July 2021 does not include over 20,000 individuals and families on the social housing list doubling up with friends or family, often known as the hidden homeless.

Nor does it include over 3,000 women and children in domestic violence refuges or almost 8,000 individuals living in direct provision.

Speaking about the report, SVP policy and research Officer, Marcella Stakem said: “The acute need for increased provision of social homes which will provide safety and security is to the forefront of the minds of SVP members who visit and support individuals, families and children living in substandard accommodation, insecure rented properties and emergency homeless accommodation.

"While the scale of long-term housing need outstrips the target set out in the Housing for All Plan, the shift towards the delivery of the direct build of social and affordable housing and increased capital investment is welcome.”

With over 600,000 people, including 140,000 children in Ireland living in substandard housing, the charity welcomed the retention of the 25 per cent inspection rate by local authorities to ensure properties meeting minimum standards and the commitment to introduce minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector.

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