Depaul today welcomed the commitment of €215 million allocated for the provision of homeless services and €98 million to support 6,467 new leased units for social housing at a time of urgent need.
Depaul underlined that funding is needed now more than ever with almost 11,000 men, women and children around Ireland currently homeless and in urgent need of emergency housing support. Numbers do not include people sleeping rough, homeless people in prison, those in direct provision and unreported homelessness.
Depaul’s Chief Executive, David Carroll said: “We welcome the €215 million announced today for the provision of homeless services in today’s budget but it must be reviewed in six months to assess whether more is needed to respond to what we expect could be a worsening crisis. We acknowledge it’s necessary to increase social housing supply through leased properties but care needs to be taken to ensure leases are being negotiated on behalf of the State within acceptable financial parameters. We have little option but to bring in supply to target those most in housing need.”
“Government has announced an increase in HAP tenancies – this will only be effective if properties are available within HAP levels. This is presently not the case; therefore, we must carefully monitor HAP payment levels.”
“We welcome the tax on vacant homes – one of our core considerations has been to increase housing supply to ensure no one else comes into homelessness. Efforts and initiatives must be there to ensure that any vacant homes entering the market can be accessed by those most in need.”
Depaul says today’s budgetary measures potentially don’t go far enough to tackle the increasing housing and homelessness crisis and say more meaningful action is needed.
Mr.Carroll said: “We welcome the recognition of the rent and energy credits for households but any one off contribution needs to be done in parallel with a moratorium on evictions. In order to assess what long term private rented sector reforms need to occur. We are calling for an immediate ban on evictions, in order to deal with the crisis over the winter period.”
“While the measures announced today are welcome, they don’t do enough to help the homeless population in Ireland. Housing options for this cohort are among the most restricted.”
“An immediate analysis by the Housing Commission of the private rental sector should occur in order to arrive at longer term recommendations for reforms of the sector.”
“Whilst the one off payments to Section 39 Health Payments are welcome, these are not enough to address challenges within the Voluntary and Community sector. Huge issues exist with the recruitment & retention of staff and longer term solutions are required with Section 39 Health Funding.”
“There has been much discussion over the last number of days over the targeting of one off payments to specific groups, with many people we’re talking to expressing a desire to opt out of energy credits and as of previous years, we’d encourage anyone who wants to, to donate this equivalent to Depaul.”
“Homeless charities are the first line of defence when families or individuals fall on hard times, and we stand ready to work with partners to meet the likely increase in demand on services this winter.”
Mr.Carroll said Depaul has had a very positive impact over the years lifting hundreds out of homelessness per year. But more can be done.
“Despite all of the challenges presented by the pandemic, Depaul– with the support of the government and the generosity of the Irish public – worked with local partners to help change the lives of over 3,600 people across the island of Ireland last year, helping 487 service users moved out of homelessness and into suitable long-term accommodation, including 141 women.”
“To end homelessness within a decade means continued investment in housing supply and funding is essential”
“We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Government to ensure we continue to reach the furthest behind first and to be on the ground continuing to give our support during this exceptional time.”
Depaul is a charity supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We support some of Ireland’s most vulnerable citizens and offer support and guidance to break the cycle of homelessness and assist our service users in making positive choices for their future. Depaul believes homelessness has no place.
We approach this with compassion and a willingness to do whatever it takes no matter what. We lead with expertise and professionalism so the most excluded homeless people get the help they deserve and are not overlooked or ignored. Depaul currently provides over 37 services across Ireland and Northern Ireland to families and individuals experiencing homelessness.