Last month a record number of homeless families – 71 – were referred to Focus Ireland’s Family Homeless Action Team in Dublin. There are now over 500 families with over 1,000 children in homeless accommodation with their families across the country.
We have never seen family homelessness on this scale before.
The number of families in emergency accommodation is appalling, but even worse is the fact that some families which are assessed as homeless by their local authority are being turned away because the local authority has no money or they says it cannot find a room for them
All the homeless charities are seeing families sleeping in cars or other unsuitable and risky places. Unless effective action is taken there is a real risk of children being forced to sleep rough.
We are asking for your help in addressing this problem by e-mailing the Taoiseach to call on him to ensure that no family which is assessed as being homeless is turne d away with no place to stay for the night.
Of course, this guarantee will need to be resourced but we believe this is justified by the level of risk which children would face.
This guarantee is urgent and essential but the key to tackling this growing crisis is firm action to keep families in their existing homes and prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. The single largest cause of families becoming homeless is that they can’t afford their rent as rent supplement levels are as much as 20% below market rents. We also need urgent delivery of new homes in sustainable communities. We have prepared a draft letter to the Taoiseach which puts the crisis in this broader context.
Since we launched the campaign on Wednesday almost 2,000 people have e-mailed the Taoiseach. We are working to reach a target of 5,000 by the end of the bank holiday. Please click h ere and add your voice.
Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy
May 29, 2015