'Significant' homelessness problem not just in cities says Laois TD
Laois TD, Brian Stanley, has said that homelessness is not just a problem in cities.
The Sinn Fein TD raised the latest homelessness statistics with the Tanaiste, Simon Coveney, and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.
Deputy Stanley pointed out that in a one week period in February in Laois, Offaly, Westmeath and Longford there were 85 adults in emergency accommodation and unfortunately the Department figures did not specifically identify the number of homeless children.
"The problem of homelessness is not confined to Dublin, Cork or the major cities, the Midlands also has a significant problem.”
He asked when the Government would honour their commitment in the Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Programme for Government, to initiate an Affordable Housing Scheme and to introduce the ‘Cost to Rental’ model for those whose income is just over the eligibility limit for social housing and unable to get a mortage.
Deputy Stanley highlighted the need for rent controls to put a hold on runaway rents in the private housing market.
"Rents in Laois and Offaly are rising at the rate of 11% to 13% per annum. The Minster for Housing's plan for 'Rebuilding Ireland' is not working. The response from the Government is disappointing. The most recent figures show the problem is increasing,” he said.
"We need a comprehensive action plan to provide badly needed homes and to get to grips with the homeless crisis. The main components of this plan must include, an Affordable Home Purchase Scheme, a Cost Rental Scheme, increase in the provision of social housing and rent controls on private rental accommodation.
"The average monthly rent of €932 in Laois is often higher as landlords are doing side deals with tenants with a portion of the rent undeclared.
"If these measures are not taken then the housing and homelessness problem in the midlands will continue to increase," he said.