A new five-point plan to tackle the crisis of homeless people has been launched by one of Ireland’s leading charities.
Focus Ireland wants TDs to commit to building 40,000 social homes over the next five years and to set a firm target date for ending family homelessness.
The new plan must be included in the next programme for government, the charity has said.
Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen said: “The outgoing government did some work to help prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless and others to move on and secure a home.
“However, the actions were neither sufficient nor fast enough to deal with the problems, and in some areas, such as rent supplement, they actually helped transform the housing crisis into a homeless emergency.
“We must make sure these mistakes are not repeated.
“The hardest hit under this housing crisis are those forced out of their homes - with a record number of more than 5,500 people now without a place to call home. Shockingly, one in every three people who is homeless is a child.”
There were 884 families in emergency homeless accommodation in Ireland in January, with a total of 1,830 children, according to the charity.
The number of families that became newly homeless and presented to Focus Ireland family services in Dublin in January was 125 - a record high - it is claimed.
The new five-point plan also called for a referendum on the “right to a home” early in the term of the next government.
Focus Ireland also wants a target date to achieve ending long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough as well as tackling the youth homelessness trap affecting 500 people.