Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary, Carol Nolan, has urged the Government to intensify efforts to bring vacant homes into use in order to combat rising homeless figures. Teachta Nolan was speaking in the Dáil this morning during a debate on the quarterly report on housing and homelessness.
Nolan said: “The figures released by the Department under the third Quarterly Progress Report on Housing and Homelessness show clearly that the Government’s plans are not working. There are now 4922 adults and 2,777 children in emergency accommodation – an increase of over 500 since December."
“There are 91,600 households on local authority waiting lists across the state. 5 families a day are losing their homes and 80,000 families are in mortgage arrears," she continued.
“In my own constituency of Offaly and North Tipperary, there are over 2,500 on the social housing waiting list. My office is dealing with people in overcrowded accommodation, people being evicted from their homes by landlords and banks and, increasingly, families seeking emergency accommodation."
“Homelessness is not confined to the large urban centres – it has now spread to every region in this state. 12 single parent families are in emergency accommodation in the midlands region and a total of 54 children are in emergency accommodation."
“My own county of Offaly has the highest rate of homelessness in the midlands region with 35 adults in emergency accommodation in May," she said.
“To add insult to injury, the census figures show that there are 3,000 vacant dwellings in county Offaly. The Minister needs to provide sufficient funding to bring these homes into use," Nolan claimed.
“A properly funded vacant homes strategy could potentially transform the situation in a relatively short time frame and at lower cost and I urge the Government and the Minister to prioritise this going forward," she concluded.
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