Editorial: Homelessness is a societal issue

A RECENT Census report titled ‘Homeless Persons in Ireland’ revealed that on the census night of April 10 2011 3,808 people were homeless.

A RECENT Census report titled ‘Homeless Persons in Ireland’ revealed that on the census night of April 10 2011 3,808 people were homeless.

The report also found that one in seven people who are homeless is a child under 18 years of age.

Homelessness is a very visible spectacle now in all the country’s cities, and in a lot of our major towns.

Focus Ireland argues that it’s possible to support people to move on from homelessness and integrate back into local communities, once the housing and supports needed are put in place.

A Homelss Strategy is due to be published shortly. Improved access to housing is needed, through whatever process necessary. Preventative measures are also needed. People should not be forced to live on the streets, or marginalised to the extent that this is the only recourse they have. The reasons people become homeless are multifaceted and include poverty, family breakdown, addictions or mental health problems.

These issues need to be addressed through more effective services.

At a time of severe economic stress and cutbacks, one might argue that the resources aren’t there. However, this is not just an economic issue, but a societal one.

Are we as a society content to condemn a section of our population to homelessness.

Much good work is being done on this issue, but it needs actiion also by the State.