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More can be done say charities

Wednesday, 11th October, 2017 4:57pm

Focus Ireland welcomed the €1.8 billion housing allocation but said the reality is that it will still be playing catch-up in trying to get ahead of the deepening crisis.

The latest figures, it said, show there is now a record total of over 8,000 people homeless, including 3,000 children.

Focus Ireland said the Budget signals a welcome shift in social housing policy away from purchasing existing homes and towards government taking responsibility for getting housing built.

However, Focus Ireland said that it seems that the total number of homes delivered will remain the same as the existing target of 5,900 homes in 2018. This target, it said, remains “entirely inadequate” to the challenge now faced.

Threshold, meanwhile, gave what it described as a “cautious” welcome to the Budget measures to prevent homelessness, including the increase of €149 million in Housing Assistance Payments (HAPs) for 2018.

“It is envisaged that the extra funding will enable an additional 17,000 households to be supported and accommodated in 2018.

Minister Donohue also announced measures to encourage owners of vacant residential property to bring it into the rental market for a minimum of four years,” the charity said.

Threshold chairperson, Dr Aideen Hayden, said that HAP is an important scheme for supporting low income households in addressing the affordability crisis in the private rented sector and a vital homelessness prevention mechanism.

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