Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh has described the record high number of homeless people in the capital as a major crisis in need of an emergency response.
Latest figures compiled by housing charity, Focus Ireland, show that the number of homeless people in Dublin rose to almost 6,000 last month. The situation remains worst in our capital where 3,247 adults and 2,046 children are classified as homeless.
Commenting on the figures Senator Ardagh said, “I am deeply concerned to learn of further increases in the number of people being forced into homelessness. This Government have been aware of the acute homeless situation for some time, yet few tangible measures have been introduced to effectively alleviate the problem.
“This Government has failed to utilise vacant housing projects as part of an overall plan to increase housing supply and reduce the number of people in emergency accommodation. The Minister must urgently look at how best to upgrade or refurbish idle units in order to return them to the market and increase supply,” she added.
“Fianna Fáil has proposed the introduction of an Empty Property Grant Scheme to encourage landlords or property owners to lease units to Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) or to provide long-term leases to tenants nominated by Local Authorities. This would see these landlords compensated for the full or partial costs of refurbishment by the AHB or the Local Authority. Similar schemes have been brought in in the UK to deal with high vacancy rates and a pilot scheme should be considered for Ireland to tackle the high vacancy rates here in Dublin, and around the country.
“Minister Coveney must take immediate action on these issues to put a stop to the spiralling number of people falling into homelessness in the capital. Internal Fine Gael politics must take a back seat to the problems facing the country”, Senator Ardagh concluded.