On a number of occasions, I have raised with the Minister and the Taoiseach the fact that my constituency of Dublin Bay North has the largest number of people on social housing waiting lists. In September, three families became homeless every day nationally. Week in, week out, I meet families with children who are sofa surfing and living in very overcrowded accommodation. A total of 35,000 people are living in such accommodation. Almost 10,000 more are homeless and living in emergency accommodation, hubs, hotels and guesthouses. There are also people sleeping in their cars or trying to do so as the weather begins to turn. What kind of hope can somebody like me give those families as we approach the Christmas period, particularly people in the offer zone, that the situation will be expedited? Has the Minister any plans to drastically improve the delivery of social housing in Dublin?
Deputy Broughan has today called for the management of Local Authorities to be much more proactive in addressing the Housing Crisis. Deputy Broughan consistently asks the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, around plans, strategies and updates on actions to address the crisis and those already underway. Often, Deputy Broughan is informed that many actions are a matter for the Local Authority.
A PQ reply no 514 of the 14th of November received by Deputy Broughan stated: “To this end, on 27 April 2017, details of some 1,700 hectares of land in local authority and Housing Agency ownership were published on the Rebuilding Ireland Housing Land Map, with the potential to deliver some 42,500 homes nationally. These sites can be viewed at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/rebuilding-ireland-land-map/. Local authorities are also required to confirm and update the data on a quarterly basis to ensure that the data held on this mapping database is fully up to date.
Following the occupation of Apollo House by the Home Sweet Home group and contact from constituents who have family members being accommodated in emergency homeless accommodation, Deputy Broughan asked a Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, on the reporting mechanisms in place to ensure cleanliness and safety standards in emergency accommodation and the legislation or statutory instruments which govern the standards of emergency accommodation.
In Dáil Éireann today, Deputy Broughan questioned the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, on the current uptake of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and the problems facing the scheme. HAP tenancies play a major part in the Government’s Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ and Deputy Broughan’s experience, so far, has been anything but positive with the scheme.
Deputy Tommy Broughan is calling on Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, to urgently allocate extra funds to all four Dublin Local Authorities to enable them to place 70-80 families, who are homeless today, in emergency family homeless accommodation. Today’s figure of families waiting for emergency family homeless accommodation in Fingal County alone stands at 35.
While I welcome the sentiments behind Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin’s announcement yesterday that the Government is planning to bring in amendments to the Employment Equality (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, it simply will not deal with the current housing and rental crisis.
The belated announcement on the new €300m housing investment fund by Minister Alan Kelly yesterday is unfortunately too little and far too late for many of my constituents. There are 89,000 citizens on housing waiting lists around the country, with 5,000 waiting for accommodation from my constituency of Dublin Bay North alone.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has expressed dismay, distress and disappointment at the lack of action by the Government and Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, on dealing with the urgent housing crisis. Deputy Broughan has been informed that Dublin City Council have no more family emergency accommodation available. If you present as homeless to Parkgate Street with your children there is no-where for you to go.
Deputy Tommy Broughan has called on the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, to urgently address the growing housing and rental crisis. Broughan told Minister Alan Kelly’s Junior Minister Paudie Coffey today that they are “personally responsible” for the 780 homeless children due to their Department’s lack of action on this issue. While Deputy Broughan welcomes Minister Kelly’s Social Housing Strategy 2020, so far it is purely aspirational.
Every weekend I meet families whose deadlines for eviction are in a few weeks or few months’ time. For some it was the end of January, now it is the end of February or the end of March, April, May and so on. Many of these families facing eviction have children some of whom are up to the late teens. Some mothers and fathers bring these children with them to my information clinics. It is sad and appalling to see the distress in the faces of these children as the family faces eviction, homelessness and grave uncertainty.