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Latest Homeless Figures Show Increase In Midlands’ Figure

Thursday, 30 March 2017

CHILD homelessness is on the rise as the number of people living in emergency accommodation reaches a new record high, according to the latest Homeless Report. 
  Official figures show 34 children accessed emergency accommodation in Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford, up from 30 in January. The number of adults in the region without a home and living in hotels or B&Bs increased from 66 to 67 in the month. A breakdown of the latest figures show 34 adults are now homeless in Offaly along with 66 adults in Tipperary. The report also confirmed 15 children are now homeless in the south east area, which includes county Tipperary while the total number of people living in emergency accommodation nationally now stands at 7,421. 
  The figures were contained in the  'Homeless Report February 2017', published by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government last week.  Following the publication of these figures, Deputy Barry Cowen, the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government lashed the Government for 'failing an entire generation as 7,421 men, women and children live in emergency accommodation' and maintained that Minister Simon Coveney's Action Plan for Housing was continuing to 'fail the needs of people, who are desperate for housing'. Commenting on the issue, the Fianna Fail TD said the figures had 'shown that despite repeated promises and commitments, the number of people in emergency accommodation increased between January and February of this year'. 
  'An additional 115 adults and 139 children spent February living in emergency accommodation demonstrating that Minister Coveney's much vaunted Action Plan is failing its most basic test: stemming the flow of people requiring emergency accommodation. The simple fact of the matter is that unless Minister Coveney can deliver three basic commitments then he will fail in his role as Minister for Housing.'
'Firstly, increase the number of social housing units being constructed and completed. Secondly, speed up and streamline the regulatory processes to allow developers construct additional private housing to match demand. Source additional private rental accommodation to allow local authorities provide increased emergency accommodation that is not hotel based. I have my doubts about whether there is a will to deliver on these three requirements.
‘The housing crisis is well documented, yet for over three years now, we have seen a stop-start approach to increasing housing capacity, across all sectors, by Fine Gael in government. Future generations will not thank Minister Coveney if he, and his Government, fails to arrest the increase in people, and in particular children, who are being forced to sleep in emergency accommodation rather than in their own home. It's time the Minister delivered, and stopped making excuses.'  
  Meanwhile, Minister Coveney admitted the homelessness figures for February were 'disappointing but not unexpected, after the small improvement we saw in January'.
‘February's figures are a stark reminder of the difficulties we face in dealing with the homelessness problem.  But we must continue to work hard and redouble our efforts.  Last year 3,052 households exited homelessness, which is the highest level ever, and the level of ambition is greater again this year.  This is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved in 2015 and reflects the significant on-going work being done by housing authorities and their partner NGOs in helping households and individuals transition from homelessness to more permanent homes.'

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