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!
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.
To 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.
Mike Allen Director of Advocacy Focus Ireland
- Charities warn homeless will suffer if HSE cuts continue (irishtimes.com)
- Government promises to end long-term homelessness by 2016 (independent.ie)
- Date to end long-term homelessness (independent.ie)
- Irish charities find the going gets tougher (guardian.co.uk)