Ellis urges swift action on homelessness

Sinn Féin’s Housing spokesperson has called on the Fine Gael and Labour government to take swift action on a number of small issues contributing to rising homelessness.

Deputy Ellis said;

“Every statistic released over the last 12 months has shown a dramatic rise in people experiencing homelessness. Now Threshold say their services have seen a 77% increase. Swift focused action is needed.

“The government don’t want to row back on cuts but to stop this growth some compromise is needed.

“Restoration of social welfare payments to young people who are coming out of care or homelessness is essential. The cap on rent allowance must be raised and the minimum contribution reduced.

“In cases where landlords are ceasing with Rent Supplement or RAS contracts the Local Authority must step in.

“A code of conduct is needed for banks dealing with distressed buy to let mortgages.

“The government have increased homelessness through their austerity agenda and they must face up to that.

“In the long term we need a major step up of public housing provision through new builds and renovation.”

Government trying to disguise cut to housing grants for the elderly – Ellis

Sinn Féin Housing Dessie Ellis spokesperson has condemned the government for attempting to misrepresent a cut to elderly housing grants as a reallocation of funds. He made his comments as Age Action, an organisation which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people, criticised the cut.

Deputy Ellis said;

“This is a cut plain and simple. It is a well-worn tactic of this government to claim they are reallocating funds to disguise an overall cut. Funds may be reallocated but not back into housing as is so desperately needed.

“The adaptation grant scheme in Dublin had to close last summer due to lack of funds. Now they are making it harder for older people to even be eligible by raising the age to 66, raising contributions and reducing the maximum grant by a fifth.

“If the government and the Minister can’t stand over their cuts then they should reconsider them. For the sake of many older people living in inappropriate conditions I hope they do.”