Joe Behan - Independent Councillor - Wicklow County Council


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Homelessness is an Emergency

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Homelessness is an Emergency
4th April 2018

The recent homeless figures show that this Government may have given up trying to solve the housing crisis.

The fact that there are now 10,000 people, including over 3,700 children, living in emergency shelter in this country is a national disgrace. The elite Ministers, who make up the majority of the Cabinet, have never known the despair and hopelessness of not having a place to call home. They are not even remotely aware of the daily suffering of so many young parents and families who do not know from day to day where they will be sleeping and when they will ever have a permanent roof over their heads.

In my daily work as a Councillor, I am constantly trying to assist young families to access private rented accommodation or to secure a Council house. I try to reassure young families that eventually things will get better and the housing supply will improve. However, when I see the latest figures for homelessness and lack of housing construction as well as rising rents and increasing number of evictions, I seriously question the Government’s competence and its good faith.

At the moment if a person is accepted on to the Housing List in Bray they will have to wait at least 14 years for the secure tenancy of a Council house. I am aware of many young teenagers who have spent their entire childhood on the Council Housing List and they still don’t have a permanent home. The emotional, educational and social harm this situation can do to children is a very real concern of parents and teachers who have raised this very issue at their Annual Conferences this week.

It is time for us as a nation to declare that this is a national emergency. A home for every family or single person should be seen as a human right and all the powers of the state should be used to ensure that the scourge of homelessness is eradicated forever from this country.

Cllr. Joe Behan

Independent



Serving the people of County Wicklow since 1985 | joebehan@outlook.ie

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