26 Jun 2022

Cowen: The State is failing homeless children

Cowen slams Fine Gael’s abandonment of homeless children

Barry Cowen

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Barry Cowen TD has said that the latest figures of Irish children living in homelessness exposes the Government’s failed strategy to accelerate housing and provide sustainable solutions to the ongoing crisis.

According to the latest figures published by the Department of Housing and Planning, there are now almost 3,000 children staying in emergency accommodation. This marks a further rise in number from the previous month. 

He said, "Despite a succession of promises and grand reassurances from Government, there has been a 30% increase in the number of children living in homelessness over the past 12 months."

"It is incredibly alarming that there has been an even further increase in the number of families and children in need of emergency housing support," he continued.

“The fact that child homelessness continues to rise so steadily demonstrates that the Government’s strategy on homelessness is deeply flawed," he added.

"The Department’s failed to meet its own pledge to end reliance on hotels and B&Bs for long-term accommodation for homeless families by July 1st while temporary family hubs are forcing many families to live apart."

"The Government also made a specific commitment to build 1,000 rapid build homes by the end of 2017. However they have only delivered a handful of these homes to date. It’s clear that the Government is going to fail to meet its own target," Cowen claimed.

He went on to say that "to make matters worse, the flagship Homeless HAP scheme is failing drastically to provide secure accommodation for children in need of housing support."

"The longer these children are left without appropriate long-term accommodation, the more detrimental the impact on their health and development."

"This Government has no too little empathy for the needs of these families or children. They continue to refuse to build social housing, and all the while there are thousands of families who are forced to sleep in cars, in friends’ sitting rooms, or in cramped B&B rooms."

“They simply are not treating this issue with the high level response or urgency that it requires. The Fianna Fail party has consistently highlighted the need for this government become less over reliant on the private rental market and instead place a greater emphasis on the construction of more social housing to solve this crisis," Cowen commented. 

“Until this fact is realised, the number of children and families being forced into homelessness will regrettably, continue to rise," concluded Deputy Cowen.

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