Top charity warns three families made homeless daily in Ireland

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Three Irish families are made homeless every day, a leading charity has warned.

Focus Ireland said its records showed the crisis was deepening with some 5,500 people, a third of them children, currently without a home.

Director of advocacy Mike Allen said the newly formed government must take urgent action to tackle the problem.

“There are no excuses for any more delays delivering effective action to help keep families and individuals in their homes.

“The Government - in particular Fine Gael - must learn from mistakes of previous governments and not allow this situation to drift with the cost of even more families becoming homeless.”

More than 900 families and almost 2,000 children are homeless across the country, according to the charity’s figures.

The problem is worst in Dublin where 300 families, including 600 children, became homeless during the first three months of this year.

And according to the Government’s own figures, 912 families and 1,881 children were living in emergency homeless accommodation at the end of February.

Mr Allen added: “Services are already at breaking point and the problem is continuing to deteriorate at an ever faster rate.

“The last government took a number of very positive measures to tackle homelessness, but they never fully grasped the scale of the problem we are facing.

“It is crucial that this government quickly recognises that it needs to take actions it would not normally contemplate.

In a written submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness, the charity has urged ministers to make cast-iron commitments and set firm deadlines to end rough sleeping and eliminate long-term homelessness.

It also wants a referendum to include the right to housing in the Constitution.

However, more immediate actions have also been outlined.

These include fast-tracking legislative amendments to provide greater security for tenants in buy-to-let properties - 27,492 of whom are in more than 90 days’ arrears; linking rent rises to the rate of inflation; and reviewing measures that would allow local councils to directly build social housing.

Mr Allen said: “We are sending a clear warning that if the new Government does not act upon these recommendations quickly we will continue to see hundreds of families and individuals lose their homes.”