28 December 2015
By Elaine Murphy
Cork North Central Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien has stated that the scale housing crisis demands a genuine commitment to creating a better housing system, along with a commitment to tackle emergency homelessness in a pragmatic way.
As part of a wider plan to tackle the housing crisis, the Cork North Central TD said that, in the first year of a Sinn Féin government, an extra €30 million would be made available to local authorities to emergency house the homeless.
“We have said, time and again, that this housing crisis can be brought to an end by a government with the political will to respond in a manner that matches the scale of the situation. A strategy is needed which is grounded in the principle belief that everybody has a right to a home. We need a progressive government that is committed to delivering a better housing system and one with the willingness to pragmatically deal with the sharp end of the crisis.
“As a short term measure, while awaiting an ambitious social housing build plan, Sinn Féin, in our first year of government, would make an additional €30 million available to local authorities to emergency house the homeless.
“This would be done as part of a wider programme of measures designed to provide a holistic and progressive solution.
“In order to meet the housing needs of homeless people, we are also advocating the adoption of a ‘Housing First’ approach and the setting of allocation targets in conjunction with local authorities.
“It is also crucial that a statutory limited is placed on how long a person can be in emergency accommodation without being moved on to transitional or permanent housing.
“The long-term solution to homelessness lies in the implementation of a housing plan centred on a massive social housing build delivered by local authorities. However, the first step is to ensure that everything possible is done to prevent somebody becoming homeless. That is why we have endeavoured to amend section ten of the Housing Act and we are saying that all landlords must report all eviction notices to the relevant local authority.
“The piecemeal approach of the Fine Gael and Labour Party government simply doesn’t cut it. Emergency measures cannot be treated as ad-hoc actions. Plans for emergency responses must be integrated into a comprehensive strategy for housing. After almost five years in power, this is something that the government has failed to deliver.
“Sinn Féin is committed to providing the necessary funding and resources to ensure the delivery of an effective housing system and the improvement of emergency responses.”