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Posts tagged ‘Homelessness’

Homelessness should be a local election issue :

Focus Ireland - Creating homes together


Dear Machholz,

I am writing to you to ask you to participate in Focus Ireland’s current campaign – to make housing and homelessness an issue in the local election campaign.

Frist I want to thank you for participating in previous Focus Ireland campaigns, and agreeing to be contacted on new campaign issues. We have had some notable successes – on the Constitutional Convention recommending a Right to Housing, on Aftercare and on a new target to end long-term homelessness.

Now we need your support again as Ireland is facing a worsening housing and homeless problem and Focus Ireland believes it is vital these issues are put firmly on the agenda for the local elections. You can participate in the campaign here .

Focus Ireland is currently seeing a lot more people and families becoming homeless – and remaining trapped in this situation – despite all our efforts to support them to s ecure a home.  This is due to the fact that there is a severe shortage of housing options available for them.

Many of the families and people coming to our services have never had any experience of homeless and never imagined that it could happen to them.

With rising instances of home repossession, reduced stock in the private rental market, a lack of social housing options and increasing rent, those in vulnerable housing situations are more at risk than ever.

In the face of this, homeless services have seen cuts in funding every year. We are asking people who care about homelessness to vote for candidates who will put a stop to these cuts, and refuse to vote for local budgets that include further cut backs.

But how will you know which way candidates will vote on this issue? We are asking everyone who cares about homelessness to contact all the candidates to ask them to sign a pledge that they will protect the homeless budget.  The Focus Ireland pledge seeks to ensure there are adequate services for people who are homeless until we see a reduction in the numbers of people who are homeless.

Please now take two minutes to play your part to support the most vulnerable in our society.

You can send a pre-written letter to candidates in your area by clicking here or by going to http://www.focusireland.ie/get-involved/take-action

Thanking you in advance,

 

Yours sincerely

Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy

Homeless in Dublin

By Thomás Aengus O Cléirigh

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Thanks to the current puppet government and bought off Union Boss’s and corrupt gangsters in the nation’s banks ,

Homeless1

our youth is been abandoned and left on the streets

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while the same government and Union bosses collect lottery salaries and pension perks

levy

Wake up youth of Eire and take back your rightful place .take back your dignity

‘Right to a Home’

Sent in to us from our friends over at Focus Ireland

Dear Machholz,

Focus Ireland has long argued that there should be a ‘Right to a Home’ in our Constitution. It would not solve all our problems, but countries that have such a legal right provide evidence that it would make a significant difference to the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

As you know, the Constitutional Convention has been meeting over the last year to review our Constitution. Most of its agenda was pre-determined by the Government (issues such as same-sex marriage and lowering the voting age got a lot of coverage), but in October they will have a meeting where they can discuss issues which they themselves believe are important.

Focus Ireland has made a submission to the Convention arguing that ‘The Right to a Home’ should be on the agenda in October. If we can show that there is broad public support for this issue to be discussed, the Convention members are more likely to add it to their agenda.

We are now  asking people who support our work to add their voices to that call. Please give a couple of minutes to add your voice by clicking here.

Yours sincerely ,

Mike Allen Director of Advocacy Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland update on Ireland’s homeless

Dear Machholz,

We wrote to you last year about the crazy situation where dozens of young people who have experienced homelessness are trapped in emergency homeless accommodation because their income is too low for them to afford to move on into independent living.

When the welfare rates to young people were halved in 2009, young people who had grown up in care were protected, recognising that they would need a full payment if they were to provide a home for themselves. However young people who become homeless after they reach 18, but were never in care, receive no such protection.

After a period in emergency accomodation, such young people are ready to move on with their lives, possibly with tenancy support services – but even if they can find a private flat and get rent supplement they cannot afford to take it up because after their rent contribution they would be left with only €70 to €100 a week to live on.

As a result they remain stuck in Emergency Accomm odation whose facilities they no longer need and which is more expensive than supporting them to find and maintain a home. . It is hard to get on with your life – take up education or apply for a job – when your address is an emergency homeless hostel. At present the only way out is to wait until they turn 25!Homeless1

Last year, Focus Ireland supporters sent over 2,000 e-mails to their TDs and Senators asking for action on this situation. This resulted in dozens of Dail questions and a very positive response by the Minister Joan Burton. But since then … nothing. There has been no change at all in the position of these young people.

305To help push this issue forward, Focus Ireland, in collaboration with other homeless organisations around the country, is holding a briefing session for TDs and Senators in the Dail on the 17th April. At thie briefing we will outline the problem and put forward a solution which will use the Youth Guarantee to assist these young people mo ve out of Emergency Homeless Accommodation and on into training, education, employment – and a sustainable home.

We are writing to you now to ask you to send a reminder to your local TD/Senators to attend the briefing and put their political weight behind finding a solution to this problem. There is an easy-to-use prepared letter here.

With thanks for your support.

Yours sincerely

Mike Allen Director of Advocacy Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland’s aftercare services and campaign.

Dear Machholz,

I am writing to bring you some good news about progress in our campaign to win a legal right to aftercare for young people who grew up in state care. Your support for this campaign has been important over the last couple of years and I thought you would like to know of the progress made.

As you will have heard and read, the report on 196 children and young people who died while in State care was published two weeks ago. The commentary on this distressing report has been wide-ranging and serious, and among all that has been said you may well have missed an important and welcome new commitment by Minister Fitzgerald.

In her speech at the report launch, Minister Fitzgerald said: ”

All children in care should be entitled to an a ssessment of their needs before they are 18 and all children in care should be entitled to the supports that they need. I believe the law needs to be strengthened in this regard… and with advice from the Attorney General, I will be proposing legislative change later this year, in the bill to establish the Child and Family Support Agency.”

Discussions with the Minister’s staff indicate that the intention is to create two legal rights in the legislation. First, that there will be a legal right to a formal assessment of what support needs a young person in care will have as they move into adulthood. Second, support needs have been identified in this assessment must actually delivered in aftercare provision

This is a different approach than the straightforward change from ‘may provide aftercare’ to ‘shall provide aftercare’ which we proposed. However, depending upon the final wording of the legislation, this has the pot ential to provide a rigorous assurance to vulnerable young people.

Focus Ireland has welcomed the Minister’s announcement and the timeframe for it. We will closely monitor the wording of the proposed legislation to ensure it provides the assurances we have campaigned so long to achieve.

You may be interested in reading an article in today’s Irish Times which highlights Focus Ireland’s aftercare services and campaign.

You may be interested in supporting another issue we are currently campaigning on – the need to change the welfare rules which can trap young homeless people in emergency  accommodation. You can read more about that campaign here:

In the meantime I want to thank you for your support for the aftercare campaign, and we will keep you informed as it moves to what may be it s final stages.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy

Up-Date from our friends at Focus Ireland

Eamon Gilmore pictured in Oslo.

Image via Wikipedia

Dear Machholz,

Supporters of Focus Ireland sent almost 3,000 e-mails to TDs and Senators calling for the appointment of a new Minister for Housing and Homelessness to have a voice in deciding the contents of the budget. Unfortunately, the Government decided not to make that appointment before budget day, but the high level of public scrutiny on the issue ensured that the homeless budget was largely protected. While so many areas of expenditure were being cut, the cuts to services to end homelessness were relatively small. So thank you for that support. It shows we can make a difference.

The decision on when to appoint a new Minister for Housing and Homelessness and who it will be, will be made by Deputy Eamon Gilmore, as leader of the Labour Party. Deputy Gilmore took the time to reply to everyone who participated in our campaign, but most people found his reply very unsatisfactory. He did not acknowledge tha t the appointment of a new Minister is entirely in his hands and did not explain the reasons for his delay. Most importantly he gave no assurance that when a new Minister is appointed that she or he will actually have a voice at cabinet.

We think these issues are so important that we are asking people to reply to Deputy Gilmore, expressing disatisfaction at his reply and emphasising the importance of recognising the scale of our housing crisis by having a Minister for Housing at the Cabinet table.

Please support this campaign by clicking here. We have drafted a letter for you – but the more you individualise it with your own thoughts on this issue, the stronger the campaign will be.

With thanks for your continued support,

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy.

Comment:

In the spirit of the time of the year I beg all of our followers to bombard this dithering politician to do the right thing .The most vulnerable are paying a severe price for the crimes of so called enlightened and educated people who are responsible for the collapse of our public finances.

We all owe it to ourselves to stand with these less well off fellow citizens and demand that they will not be made scapegoats just because they have no political voice. Do the decent thing  and support our friends at Focus Ireland in their campaign

Thank you and happy Christmas to all

machholz

Rising homeless figures in Ireland

By OLIVIA KELLY

How much has homelessness risen by? The number of homeless people in Dublin is up by 26 per cent for the first six months of the year compared with the first six months of 2010.

That’s a huge increase in a short space of time It is. In addition, the Dublin Simon Community, one of the many organisations that look after homeless people, says it has distributed a third more sleeping bags than over the same period last year.

The streets of Dublin must be thronged with homeless people Fortunately not. While in percentage terms the increase is clearly dramatic, numerically we’re talking about an average of 40 people sleeping rough in Dublin city each night.

Just 40? Surely, with so many organisations, we can sort out somewhere for 40 people to stay at night?

full article at source:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2011/1001/1224305065679.html

6,600 patients were left waiting on trolleys in A&E wards

A RECORD 6,600 patients were left waiting on trolleys in A&E wards last month, according to figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association.

The group warned that the situation will get worse, with the closure of 2,000 beds adding to the problem of increased demand for health services as the winter approaches.

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said it was clear the Government’s current cost-cutting measures were having “a serious negative impact upon patient care”.

He also said that many hospitals were trying to deal with the crisis by placing more beds in wards that are already cramped.

full article here: http://www.herald.ie/news/6600-patients-on-trolleys-as-beds-cut-back-2867442.html

Comment:

Nobody that calls themselves honest can make excuses for this deplorable state of our health services and Labour should hang their heads in shame .They have betrayed their own principals and should now retire from government. This news comes hot on the heals of the previous posting about a top civil servant receiving 700,000 Euro golden pension and the same time I hear that  49 homeless people were given sleeping bags to sleep rough on Dublin streets as there were no beds left in the hostels in the City last night in Dublin! How can this person even justify taking this king of money from the homeless? And how can the politicians face the people of Ireland knowing what they themselves get paid? Time for the crocodile tears to be wiped off these public leaches faces and time to kick them out .Wake up Ireland !

Focus Ireland update

Dear Machholz,
Your work over the last few months has paid off – the new Programme for Government includes a range of commitments on ending homelessness, just as we so strongly demanded.

The overall statement we were seeking is there on page 45: “We are committed to ending long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough. ” While this does not contain the time commitment we were seeking, there is a commitment to “review and update the existing Homeless Strategy”. Focus Ireland will of course be seeking an input into this review and will be seeking a new time commitment from the new Minister, when s/he is appointed later this week.
The Programme also states that this review of strategy will include “a specific focus on youth homelessness”. This takes up a key demand from our seminar last week on the need to update and renew our commitments on Youth Homelessness.
The Programme also includes a commitment to introduce a ‘housing first’ approach so that we can “offer homeless people suitable, long term housing in the first instance and radically reduce the use of hostel accommodation and the associated costs for the Exchequer.”
Finally the Progamme takes up the theme of Focus Ireland’s recently launched new 5 year strategy “Holding on to a place you can call home” by giving greater prominence to prevention, committing to “aggressively target the root causes of homelessness.” And promises “a dedicated body to coordinate policy across Government.”
All this is good, and is a great testament to Focus Ireland supporters who raised these issue s with candidates and political leaders from right across the country. However, we know that having these commitments written down is only the start. The outgoing Government had some of these aspirations too, but was unable to achieve them. There is no specific mention of the right to aftercare, but both the commitment on youth homelessness and the promise to implement the Ryan Report, along with the supportive Dail speeches by Fine Gael and Labour TDs earlier this year will give us strong ground for pushing this issue forward.
So while celebrating these commitments, we are starting to think about what needs to happen to ensure they become a reality. Given the other challenges facing the country, that will not be easy. For that next stage of the road we will need your support as much as we needed it to arrive here. As that develops we will be in touch again, but in the meantime we just want to extend our thanks for your support.

Yours sincerely
M ike Allen
Director of Advocacy, Focus Ireland

Focus Ireland on Homelessness

Dear Thomas ,

Thanks for your extraordinary support for our campaign to make ending homelessness an election issue. We know from candidates and from your own feedback that our issues are getting raised at many doorsteps. Over 1,200 e-mails were sent to candidates and TDs looking for answers since the start of the election, and we can see some of the impact this is having now that all the manifestos are published.

We have analysed all the manifestos. Remember, in the last election there was virually no reference to homelessness, so we are making great progress! There is a lot of good news – a good recognition of the importance of tackling long-term homelessness in most of them. Of the main parties, the odd-one-out is Fianna Fail, whose manifesto, this time round, does not present a broad policy platform and makes no mention of homelessness, aftercare or, indeed, social housing. This is the nature of their man ifesto rather than a reflection on their homeless policy and outgoing Fianna Fail Minister, Michael Finneran‘s commitment to the issue was notable. Nevertheless their manifesto is silent on the issue and this is reflected in the analysis.

Fine Gael, Sinn Fein and the Green Party all commit themselves to ‘ending long-term homelessness’, though only Sinn Fein put a timeframe (2 years) on it. Disappointingly, Labour only commit to ‘alleviating’ long-term homelessness. Minister Finneran, in his farewell speech , said long-term homelessness could be ended by his successor in just 6 months!

Commitments on Aftercare were not so clear cut, with only Sinn Fein giving a manifesto commitment to legislate, though Fine Gael refer to implementing the Ryan Report recommendations.

We have posted a summary of what the party manifestos say on all the issues we raised, and also link to longer quotes on the key issues. You can use this to help you make up your mind about which party and candidates you will support in the election.

Our next challenge is to ensure that the best of these commitments is actually included in the new Programme for Government.

Of course, to do that we must wait until next weekend to know what parties (or party) will be making up the Government, but in the meantime keeping up a constant flow of e-mails (and questions at the door) will make sure that ending homelessness remains in the forefront of candidates’ minds. If you have not downloaded the notes to ask canvassers you can do so here, and if you have not sent an e-mail to all your candidates you can do so here . Please do.

If you have any feedback from canvassers or e-mails you can post it on the Facebook page or e-mail it to me.

With thanks again for your support and congratulations on the impact so far.

Mike Allen

Director of Advocacy

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