In today’s Sunday Times, Government TD Joanna Tuffy tries to blame Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and other homeless charities for the homelessness crisis.
They call this the ‘silly season’ but it rarely gets sillier than this. Tuffy’s remarks can only be seen as a way of distracting attention from the Government’s failure to take the urgent and effective action we have been calling for.
Tuffy claims that we have not ‘drawn down’ millions of Euros from the Housing Finance Agency to help provide homes. The money she is talking about is actually loans. The sad truth is that while we are in the process of borrowing millions of euro to build new homes, it is cheaper to borrow it from commercial banks than from the Government’s HFA fund.
We already provides homes for over 500 families and individuals and we have ambitious plans to provide over 100 new homes this year across the country. The Government will provide the funds to purchase some of these homes and we are proud to work with local and national government because we known that homelessness can only be solved by people working together.
Extraordinarily, Tuffy says that Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust should ‘step up to the mark’ on homelessness. Well, in addition to providing over a hundred homes this year, we are providing support for over 550 homeless families and over 1,100 children in emergency accommodation (in partnership with the Dublin local authorities), and we are out on the street every night (in partnership with Peter McVerry Trust) helping the families and individuals who have no shelter. We are also working with young homeless people, young people growing up in state care, people in hospital and people at risk of homelessness. And much more, in partnership with any organisation committed to ending homelessness.
I think we can leave it to you to decide who needs to ‘step up to the mark’ on homelessness.