There is a serious shortage of housing for people, whether they want to rent or buy and whether they are in work or unemployed. But for people who are struggling on welfare or low incomes the problem has become impossible, as there are virtually no properties on offer in the private rental market. Rising rents and a lack of social housing means more people than ever are at risk of losing their home.
For the worst affected, this has blocked escape routes for families and individuals who are homeless – keeping them trapped for long periods living in emergency accommodation or sleeping rough. Homeless services are stretched to breaking point due to the impact of cumulative funding cuts over a period of years, a sharp drop in donations and a rise in the number of people seeking support.
In the absence of a sufficient supply of homes to address the issue of homelessness we need our local authorities to better protect families and people who are homeless. The most effective way that this can be achieved is by ensuring adequate support services are in place. In January this year, the Dublin Councillors took a courageous and hugely important step by reversing a proposed €6 million cut in the homeless budget. But what view will the incoming councillors take next year?
I have signed the Focus Ireland pledge and agree that if elected as a Councillor I will never vote for a budget that cuts funding to homeless services until we see a reduction in the number of people who are homeless. There is more about this campaign on their www.focusireland.ie/get-involved/take-action
If I gain election, the housing and homelessness crisis will be one of the greatest challenges I face. I will play my part to improve the support and housing options available for people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home.