The facts, figures and statistics on the extent of homelessness are staggering. The picture of homelessness is changing from the sad, stereotypical minority of single men with mental health or addiction issues who have fallen on hard times. The homeless are very different now and include people and families who in other times would never have been in a crisis situation. It results from unemployment, negative equity and insufficient funding to the local authorities and housing agencies to answer those needs.
I have spoken on this before and identified that local authorities do not have enough housing to meet demand. Movement on the number of voids in my constituency is not prompt enough. I see it constantly in Dublin Central. There was insufficient funding for social housing and some of those contracted to build housing did not fulfil the regulations on social housing. In the private rental market rents are rising and there are other factors which cause landlords to issue notices to quit, which is putting further pressure on the housing services. Organisations do their best to source emergency accommodation so at least people are safe, warm and have a roof over their heads, but it is often unsuitable for families.
One solution is to give local authorities enough funding to make a difference, which means funding for those voids, and it must happen now.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Paul Gillibrand