I am delighted to have the opportunity to bring forward on behalf of my Independent colleagues our motion on homelessness, which was placed on the clár of the Dáil in December. Every day Deputies are contacted by upset constituents who are at the end of their tethers. These people are trying to look for housing assistance payment, HAP, properties, having been given notices to quit because of sale or refurbishment of the properties in which they are living, they are living in substandard accommodation or they are sleeping in their cars or in tents. There are mothers who are desperately upset with regard to how their children are reacting to the uncertainty relating to homeless accommodation. There are also those who are trying to get deposits together for mortgages and individuals who require urgent housing adaptations. The list is endless. What these people experience is exhausting for them. The Minister knows this as well as I do.
On Tuesday night, Deputy Broughan voted for the Motion of No Confidence in the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy. He said that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil should be “banished from Government” for at least a generation for presiding over the growing Housing Crisis and allowing 4,000 children to become homeless. Last week, Deputy Broughan had submitted an oral Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone asking her to report the number of children that have been in emergency homeless accommodation by hubs or hotels and guesthouses for less than 3 to 6, 6 to 9, 9 to 12, 12 to 24 and for 24 months plus, respectively. This question was transferred to Minister Murphy for reply.
Deputy Broughan has again condemned the Government for its complete failure in addressing the housing, homeless and rental crises. Week after week, Deputy Broughan meets individuals, families and young children let down by this and previous Governments’ failed Housing policies and the Local Authorities’ inability to even remotely get a handle on the situation. In the Department of Housing’s most recent data for April, released last night, 5,963 adults (6,035 in March) and 3,689 children (3,646 in March) (1,712 families) were homeless. Of these, 4,005 homeless adults (4,107 in March) and 2,810 homeless children (2,780 in March) (1,351 families) were based in the 4 Dublin counties. Shockingly and without explanation, 252 extra homeless people, with homeless priority and in temporary emergency accommodation, were removed from the April figures.
Deputy Broughan will continue to raise the plight of homelessness and the Housing Crisis this year in Dáil Éireann, demanding change and action for the thousands of homeless children across the country. 2018 began with news that the Gresham Hotel was to stop accepting families from DCC for emergency accommodation. At the end of 2017, there were still more than 650 families being accommodated in wholly unsuitable hotel/b&b/guesthouse emergency accommodation, 5 months after the Government’s commitment to end the practice.