Deputy Michael Lowry has urged the Government to act with decisiveness and urgency to tackle the ‘perfect storm’ that has arisen and which is leading to a catastrophic increase in the incidence of homelessness.
The Independent T.D. stated that the lack of affordable rented accommodation, lack of social housing, high unemployment rates, unrealistic rent allowance limits, unsustainable mortgage payments and evictions from owner occupied and buy-to let-properties have created a situation whereby the frequency of individuals and families becoming homeless has accelerated drastically, resulting in homeless services becoming overwhelmed.
Deputy Lowry stated;
“Many families and individuals are living only one crisis away from homelessness. Homelessness is not just a problem that affects cities or towns. Across Tipperary homelessness is on the increase, particularly hidden homelessness. Hidden homelessness refers to those who sleep in cars, pitch a tent or sleep on the couches of relatives and friends. The Mid-West Simon Community has reported a 25% increase in demand for services and the most recent figures available show that 2219 people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary presented to homeless services. Of these 628 were children.”
“Indeed in my own constituency office there has been a notable increase in the number of calls I receive that relate to homelessness or families in fear of homelessness. Many of these are families or individuals who are on the Council housing list but who are being asked to leave their current rental accommodation and simply cannot find an affordable alternative.”
“The Government have committed to ending long term homelessness by 2016 and have vowed to introduce 2,700 units by the end of that year. However the reality is that to date no real, tangible results have been generated by Governmental action instead the situation has compounded and is rapidly spiralling out of control. The proposed programme is extremely limited, short sighted and moving far too slowly.”
“Immediate action is needed to assist those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, simple, immediate steps such as the increasing of rent allowance limits and providing adequate support services would go a long way to assist those who find themselves in this terrifying situation.”
Deputy Lowry will be taking part in the Sleep-Out Challenge being organised by the Mid-West Simon Community in Semple Stadium on October 3rd and encouraged all to take part in or support this worthwhile event.
“Those who are homeless are some of the most exposed and vulnerable members of our society. By taking one night out of our busy lives we can show our solidarity while increasing awareness and raising funds for the vital work of the Simon Community.”