Homeless charity Depaul has said that tackling homelessness needs to be the number one priority in Budget 2023.
This comes after the latest report from the Department of Housing showed that homelessness in Ireland reached a record high of 10,568 people last month.
David Carroll, Chief Executive of Depaul said that current targets for housing supply need to be increased, with a greater focus on social and affordable housing.
“We are extremely concerned to see that homeless numbers in Ireland are continuing on the upward trajectory that began at the end of last year.”
“We are supportive of Housing for All but targets in housing supply must be increased and additional funding must be found to support these increased targets.”
“As part of this, a renewed focus on social and affordable housing for single people with complex needs is critical as we are seeing high numbers of single people entering the homeless system.”
He said that single people are some of the most vulnerable who seek out Depaul’s help, and often those who find it the hardest to access long term accommodation.
A greater focus on one bed units in private and public housing is needed break this cycle, he added.
“In the short to medium term, until we increase our housing supply we must deal with the immediate crisis.”
“A renewed focus on homelessness prevention is needed in order for us to deliver on our national housing plan and dealing with the crisis in the private rented sector is essential.”
“Budget 2023 must also address adequate and sustainable funding for the voluntary and community sector.”
“The recruitment and retention of staff delivering services to vulnerable people is a major issue and funding must be allocated to address the staff shortage across the sector to support those using our vital services.”
Staff in the community sector in Fórsa and SIPTU trade unions have staged protests in recent weeks against a lack of government funding for community and voluntary organisations.
SIPTU has warned that industrial action will continue to escalate if the government continues to ignore their demands in this area.
These often provide the backbone of local services for homelessness, disability, and multiple other areas.
David Carroll said that homelessness charities are under extreme pressure, and “working around the clock” to try and combat the crisis.
“Adequate and sustainable multi-annual funding to the homeless sector is needed to reflect the full cost of service delivery and to account for increasing need and inflationary pressure.”
“There is an opportunity to reduce the numbers entering homelessness but significant state supports and investment are needed to get us to this place.”