Homeless charity Depaul welcomes budget, but says it doesn’t go far enough

Galway Daily news Galway City Council has announced plans for a social housing development of 84 apartments and houses in Knocknacarra.

Homeless charity Depaul welcomed the allocation of €215 million for homeless services in the budget, but that more meaningful action is needed.

Depaul said that funding is needed now more than ever, with almost 11,000 people in Ireland currently homeless and in urgent need of emergency housing support.

The true picture is even worse, as these figures do not include people sleeping rough, homeless people in prison, those in direct provision and unreported homelessness.

The budget announced on Tuesday includes €215 million in funding for homeless services, as well as €98 million to support 6,467 new leased units for social housing.

Depaul’s Chief Executive, David Carroll said that this funding is welcome, but that it must be reviewed every six months to see if more is needed.

“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,” Carroll added.

Depaul said that the measures announced in the budget may not go far enough, and that more meaningful action is needed for the crisis.

“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,” David Carroll said.

“We are calling for an immediate ban on evictions, in order to deal with the crisis over the winter period.”

The charity welcomed the tax on vacant housing, adding that there must be measures to ensure that vacant homes coming onto the market are available to those most in need.

Any increase in HAP tenancies will only be viable if properties are within HAP limits, Depaul said, which they aren’t right now.

More than just once-off funding, long term solutions are needed to address issues with the recruitment and retention issues in the voluntary and community sectors.

Last year, Depaul helped over 3,600 people across Ireland, including helping 487 people out of homelessness, and into long term accommodation.