Housing Minister Accused Of 'Knowingly Manipulating Homeless Figures'

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has been accused of "knowingly manipulating the March homeless figures".

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has called on the Minister to "admit that he and his Department officials instructed Councils to remove families in emergency accommodation arrangements from the March homeless figures".

Deputy Ó Broin said: "This week, I have been talking to a large number of officials working in homeless services in Local Authorities and the Voluntary sector following Minister Murphy’s startling claim that 600 people were miscategorised by Councils as homeless and wrongly included in earlier homeless figures.

"I am satisfied that the Ministers claim is false. These people, including many families with children are homeless and are in emergency accommodation arrangements funded by Council's homeless services. Despite this, the Councils in question received an instruction to remove them from the March homeless report.

"The Minister is guilty of knowingly manipulating the March homeless figures. In doing so, he has insulted the staff and management of the Local Authorities. Worse, he has insulted the adults and children who are homeless by trying to deny that they are living in temporary and emergency accommodation arrangements.

"Due to the dramatic rise in the number of families presenting as homeless and the lack of adequate emergency accommodation, Councils across the country have had to develop ad hoc temporary emergency accommodation arrangements using a range of property types. None of these arrangements involve tenancy agreements. Rather, families are placed in temporary accommodation, while the Council or voluntary sector organisations seek to secure the families permanent housing.

"It is clear that Minister Murphy did not want the March figures to reflect the reality across the state, namely that levels of homelessness continued to rise and had finally breached the 10,000 number. Given that he claimed on Monday that most of the 600 people allegedly miscategorised have now been removed, it is clear that the true March figure is well in excess of 10,000.

"Minister Murphy must immediately clarify the situation. He must admit that he and his Department officials instructed Councils to remove families in emergency accommodation arrangements from the March homeless figures. He must apologise for the hurt his actions have caused. And he must republish the March homeless figures including all those people living in temporary emergency accommodation arrangements.

"Once again, Minister Murphy has shown that his priority is in the protection of his own political reputation rather than in solving the homeless crisis."


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