Housing Minister To Break Key Action Plan Commitment

Sinn Féin has warned that the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, looks set to break a key action plan commitment that pledged to end the use of emergency hotel accommodation for homeless families.

According to the party's housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin, page 13 of the Minister's Action Plan states that: "By mid-2017, emergency hotel and B&B type accommodation for families will only be used in limited circumstances and will have been largely replaced by suitable permanent family accommodation by delivering additional housing solutions including through an expanded Rapid-Build Housing Programme."

Deputy Ó Broin said: "It is now clear that Minister Coveney looks unlikely to meet his own deadline that sought to ensure that all homeless families would be out of hotel accommodation by July 1st.

"Just over two weeks out from this deadline and we still do not know where and when the 695 families currently living in hotel rooms are going to be housed.

"Instead of investing more money in finding a permanent solution to the growing problem of family homelessness by turning around vacant homes, the Minister is now scrambling to identify any building that could be used as a family hub.

"When the number of families in emergency accommodation continued to rise and the idea of developing family hubs as a solution to the lack of suitable state accommodation was first floated, I asked the Minister if there were plans by his Department to re-designate unsuitable hotels as family hubs.

"He did not answer my question on this last April and now via a drip feed of information in the media we know that some unsuitable hotels may be used as family hubs.

"I have consistently called on the Minister to publish in full his department's plans to house families in hotel accommodation. This plan should include a detailed timeline and should also include details on how this government plans to stem the flow of families into homelessness.

"With 60 new families presenting as homeless each month, the government is running to standstill on this problem.

"With the delivery of the expensive rapid build homes delayed and with the new supply of real social homes coming on stream at a frustratingly slow pace we also need to see plans that ensure that family hubs do not become permanent homes for families.

"No one should have to live in emergency accommodation for more than six months. Unfortunately, as it stands some children have spent up to two years living in unsuitable, cramped accommodation."


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