Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis has welcomed the setting by the Minister for Housing of a deadline to end long term homelessness and rough sleeping. He made his comments following the announcement by Jan O’Sullivan that the deadline would be reset to 2016 given the failure to live up to a previous commitments for the year 2010.
Deputy Ellis said;
“The target originally set at 2010 was achievable and many good steps were taken but the political will was not there in Fianna Fáil to see through project. Groups like Focus Ireland in 2011 called for the date to be reset to 2013. The government has now decided on 2016 as the date. This aim could be a lot closer to being achieved if proper focus was given to housing but I welcome this new deadline.
“Focus Ireland believes from its research that there are roughly 5000 homeless people in this state. Many of these are under 18.
“People who experience homelessness are more likely to have physical or mental health difficulties and many were formerly in care, all are in this situation because of a lack of appropriate accommodation to meet their needs. They are victims of a failure by our society.
“Much work is still to be done in order to end homelessness and the government will need to make serious strides in providing housing which is tailored to suit the varied needs of people coming out of homelessness. Funding has been cut for homelessness services and emergency accommodation is at breaking point with organisations working with the homeless operating at absolute capacity, this situation cannot continue.
“A new deadline is a good step but proper funding of services for homeless people, provision of aftercare for those leaving care or prison as well as the provision of permanent housing is what will end homelessness. These are all in the government’s power to do if they truly commit themselves to this new deadline.”