By Conor Jack Martin
Focus Ireland wants the right to a home to be added to the Constitution.
The charity for the homeless stated that the present caretaker government has the power to take urgent action to alter legislation so that the landlords’ decision to sell a property is no longer a valid ground for eviction.
Mike Allen, the charity’s director of advocacy, said: “The outgoing government did some work to help prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless and others to move on and secure a home”.
“However, the actions were neither sufficient nor fast enough to deal with the problems, and in some areas, such as Rent Supplement, they actually helped transform the housing crisis into a homeless emergency,” he added
The news comes as 103 families, renting homes in the Cruise Park area of Tyrrelstown, could have to leave the properties after they were sold to a vulture fund. Citizens who are keeping up with their rent, are fearful of eviction because a company seeks to sell their homes.
Focus Ireland launched a five-point plan to help tackle homelessness. The charity wants five proposals to be included in the next programme for government. Focus Ireland says a referendum may be needed to protect families from ‘vulture funds’ buying their homes and evicting them.
They have requested a strict deadline for ending the homeless crisis along with increased commitment.
“This will require new measures to prevent families losing their homes and improved measures to help those who are already homeless,” Focus states.
With more than 1,800 children in nearly 900 families who are homeless in Ireland, they aim to build at least 40,000 social houses over the next five years. A record number of 100,000 households are on social housing waiting lists nationwide.
“The hardest hit under this housing crisis are those forced out of their homes – with a record number of more than 5,500 people now without a place to call home,” Allen concluded.
The youth homeless trap is also big on their agenda for change.“Over 500 young people are trapped in emergency homeless accommodation, with a social welfare rate too low to provide them with a proper home and unable to get a job or training because they are homeless,” Focus states.