By Susan Gately - 02 October, 2015
A leading campaigner for the homeless has warned that more than 6,500 people will be homeless in Ireland by the end of the year unless drastic action eases the crisis.
Fr Peter McVerry, founder of the homeless and housing charity, the Peter McVerry Trust, said the situation had become a national emergency with the numbers sheltering in hostels and hotels expected to have doubled since the start of the year.
As homeless people gathered outside the Dáil on Wednesday to protest about the lack of social accommodation, the charity launched its pre-budget submission to the Government.
It backs plans to build modular housing to ease pressure and demand for social housing, but Fr McVerry said the 150 modular housing units announced by Government to be delivered before Christmas “will not even cover the number of new homeless families for August and September”.
“With this type of inadequate response we have no option but to question whether this Government are committed to helping people in homelessness,” he added.
In its submission, the Peter McVerry Trust called for:
“We need urgent action to tackle this emergency,” said Pat Doyle CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust.
“The submission is focused on addressing the acute lack of housing provision that we are currently experiencing. We believe that our combination of legislative, financial and policy actions, if implemented in the immediate to short term, will significantly boost efforts to tackle the housing and homeless emergency.”
Concluding, he said that it was homes not shelter that was urgently needed.
“Peter McVerry Trust believes that rapid investment in housing must be prioritised to get people out of homeless accommodation. The crisis of the last few years has seen far too many people languish in emergency accommodation when they should be living in private rental accommodation or social housing. Housing, not shelter, is the answer to this emergency.”