How You Can Help The Homeless



Members of Housing Action now at the Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin in May

Free this weekend?

Dr Rory Hearne writes:

There will be young children tonight going to bed in a strange place with strangers all around them. They will be watching their parents, stressed and worried. They will probably walk the streets of our capital city with their parents looking for a homeless service where they might get some warm food.

They will look at other children going to normal homes and wish they could go too. Tonight they will sleep in emergency accommodation in a hostel or B&B. Tomorrow night is likely to be somewhere else. They will go to school tomorrow and try concentrate and play with the other children.

A similar situation faces 1,500 children living in emergency accommodation across the country. Thousands more live with families on the brink of homelessness, facing another unaffordable rent hike or home repossession. It is only a matter of time before one or more of these children die on our streets as happened with a homeless man last week. It is absolutely correct to call the situation facing these families as a ‘national emergency’ and a ‘humanitarian crisis’.

It is a clear breach of Article 27 of the UN Covention on the Rights of the Child to which Ireland is a signatory. Article 27 recognises the right of every child “to a standard of living adequate for child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development” and obliges the Irish state to “take appropriate measures to…implement this right and shall in the case of need, provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing”.

The Minister responsible for dealing with housing, Alan Kelly and the Taoiseach both state that they are doing all they can to solve the crisis and that resources are not an issue. The growing numbers of families presenting homeless – over 70 a month now in Dublin alone – shows that this is not true. It is not being given the political or funding priority required to address it.

That is why this coming weekend academics, policy experts, housing activists, trade unionists and housing charities are coming together to organize a public conference to discuss and highlight the many solutions that exist to address the crisis.

The conference, titled ‘Towards A Real Housing Strategy’, is being organised by ‘Housing Action Now’ and will discuss topics related to housing such as homelessness, rent regulation, tenant’s rights, funding models for social and affordable housing, and the role of NAMA.

But this is not just a conference for policy experts or activists – it is also open to the public and aims to provide people with a greater understanding of the causes of the crisis and possible solutions.

What is clear is that there are solutions to the housing crisis but there needs to be more public involvement (protest, contacting your TD and the media) in putting pressure on the government to immediately implement them. For example, increasing the social housing budget from the planned 500 million to 1.5bn, starting immediately would fast track an additional 10,000 permanent social housing units in the next year and address the immediate crisis and begin to address the wider housing waiting list.


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8 thoughts on “How You Can Help The Homeless

  1. Nilbert

    where are all the braying gosh:tes who were here last week ranting about homeless people being feckless chancers who expected everything for nothing?

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      They’re probably giving reacharounds to the great lads who’ve become highly concerned about the homeless problem since they heard about Syrian refugees coming to Europe.

  2. diddy

    FG are the party of the landowning class. Thier cohort have zero interest in governement intervening here and building houses. they will let the market correct matters when it sees good and fit. No majpr party is putting forward a truly socialist view of how our citizens will be housed.. Banks will lend again and working folks will be expected to take on huge debt again. Tis a gonna be a re run of a bad movie im afraid

  3. Alias

    The government needs increasing rental prices to drive better prospective yields and spur house building to help drive economic growth. But the government need increased house building to release pressure on the rental market and drive down prospecting yields which cause homelessness. But the landlords need increasing yields to pay off inflated loans while interest rates are down. But the banks need the interest rates to increase to improve their balance sheets through returns and enable them to lend as much as they can to generate more. But the government need interest rates low so they can service their sovereign debt without it compounding further and sucking further funding from the economy and stifling growth. But the economy needs marginal inflation to avoid deflation and depression, meaning assets would rise. But the people need assets like property to come down in price to reduce the earnings to rental / mortgage ratio and minimize the amount they borrow and are exposed to interest rate increases.

    I’m confused. Or maybe drunk? But definitely not hungry.

    1. Kolmo

      There is no society. The dismantling of the state is the current ideology that privatises every aspect of what makes a state a state – the Detroitisation of Ireland – the citizen is the enemy. A greasy neo-con dream before our very eyes.

  4. The Bottler

    I am entitled to this
    I am entitled to that
    I have no personal responsibility for anything
    I want I want I want
    I want Peter to pay Paul

  5. scottser

    ‘It is only a matter of time before one or more of these children die on our streets as happened with a homeless man last week’.

    *rolls eyes*
    no rory, it won’t. a child will be taken into care long before it is allowed to sleep out rough with a parent.

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