Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called for an immediate statement from Minister Eoghan Murphy following revelations that seven homeless families were referred to Garda stations last night due to a lack of emergency accommodation available.
Homeless service providers are obliged to refer families with children to Garda stations for child protection reasons in cases where emergency accommodation can not be sourced.
Deputy Ó Broin said: “For the first time in a number of months homeless services providers were forced to refer seven families to Garda stations last night due to lack of available emergency accommodation. “Of the seven families accommodation was eventually found for four, with one family sleeping in Tallaght Garda Station and two more families sleeping rough. “As the holiday season reaches its peak and with the added pressure of the Popes visit to Ireland many hotels are withdrawing their rooms from emergency accommodation.
“This along with the increasing numbers of families presenting as homeless led to last nights crisis situation. “Given that this problem is likely to recur during August, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy must make a public statement on the matter today outlining what additional measures he will put in place to address this ever worsening problem. “It is become increasingly clear that Government has no actual strategy for tackling family homelessness.
“There is a need for additional emergency accommodation to be secured. There is also a need to move people out of homelessness faster than is currently happening. “However we also need to see determined action by Government to keep families in their homes. Home repossessions and vacant possession notices to quit from landlords selling up continue to be the main driver of family homelessness. “Until Government tackles this, by introducing the Focus Ireland amendment, this problem will continue.
“No adult or child should be forced to sleep in a Garda station or a van for lack of emergency accommodation. “If Government focused more on preventing these families from becoming homeless and increasing the supply of social housing to get families out of homelessness then last nights ugly scenes would not be repeated.”