80.2% spike in homelessness in north west region in two years, says Pringle
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Deputy Pringle made the claim in the Dáil on Wednesday while speaking in support of a People Before Profit-Solidarity motion calling for the reinstatement of an eviction ban amid the ongoing housing crisis.
The Donegal Independent said: “There were only 37 properties available to rent in the entire county of Donegal this morning. Of these, none are affordable for those on Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
“The reality is that households facing eviction are most likely facing homelessness. As chairman on the board of North West Simon Community, I have seen the pressure that voluntary homeless organisations are currently facing.
“The number of homeless people in the region is increasing significantly every year. Last year, 539 people sought support from the North West Simon Community, including 292 adults and 244 children, with 15 per cent of the referrals coming from Donegal County Council.”
Deputy Pringle said NW Simon Community provided social housing to 23 households in Donegal and Leitrim and assisted 239 households in relation to homelessness or the risk of homelessness.
He claimed the government’s Housing for All Strategy is not working.
“Figures for July 2023 alone show that emergency accommodation was provided to 155 people. This is truly disgraceful. The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage's Housing for All strategy has completely failed.
“Since he published the strategy in September 2021, homelessness in the north west region has not only increased, but has increased by a massive 80.2 per cent.
“That increase of over 80 per cent is the Government’s legacy. It will continue to be its legacy unless drastic measures are introduced in the budget in two weeks' time,” he said.
Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan, responding on behalf of the government, said: “Deputy Pringle raised the failure of Housing for All. We certainly do not agree with that. Housing for All is delivering, and we are all in agreement here that supply is critical to addressing the crisis we are in.”
He added: “The Government’s Housing for All plan is having a genuine impact on increasing housing supply. More homes are being built and bought now than in a generation.
"Last year, we saw the greatest number of homes delivered since 2008, and new developments are coming on stream.
"The latest monthly data on the number of commencement notices for residential construction starts show commencement notices for 2,770 new homes were received by the building control authorities in August 2023.
"That is an increase of 30.6 per cent on the number of new homes commenced in the same month last year. The strong uptake in commencements this year has continued, and 21,316 homes have been commenced in the first eight months of 2023.
"This is a 14 per cent increase on the figure for the same period last year and a record by comparison with similar periods since data series began, in 2015.”