Monday, October 03, 2016

Homeless plans ‘not ambitious enough for Ireland’s children’

The Government’s plans to tackle homelessness do not do enough to address the issue of family homelessness, a leading campaigner has said.

Speaking at the Focus Ireland Conference, the charity’s founder Sr Stanislaus Kennedy said ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, the Government’s action plan on homelessness and housing, is “welcome and ambitious”, but insufficiently ambitious for the needs of Ireland’s children. She said the plan “does not add up for families who are homeless”.

Focus’s 10th annual conference, centred on the theme ‘No Going Back – building sustainable pathways out of homelessness’, featured national and international speakers and analysed the Government plan. 

Little prospect

While Sr Stan said there was much to praise in the plan, which she described as in many ways “strikingly ambitious”, she expressed concern about Minister Simon Coveney’s statement that the Government’s main aim with regard to family homelessness, “is to ensure that by mid-2017, commercial hotels will only be used in limited circumstances to accommodate homeless families”. 

She said this meant that the plan offered “little prospect of a real home for many hundreds of children”.

Pointing out that Focus is succeeding in helping families out of homelessness, she said the numbers becoming homeless are also rising such that it was hard to see the Government reaching its 2017 goal.

August was the charity’s most successful month so far in terms of rehousing families, according to Focus’s Roughan McNamara, who told The Irish Catholic it rehoused 33 families that month, but that 72 further families had become homeless while it was doing so. 

“Normally we get one family out of homelessness every day,” he said, “but two to three new ones come in.”

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