Budget is criticised for not tackling homlessness crisis

Campaigners have condemned the absence of concrete measures in next year’s Budget to prevent the spiralling homelessness crisis.

Mike Allen, Focus Ireland’s Director of Advocacy, told The Irish Catholic that: “We were hoping there’d be measures to deal with the ever rising tide of families becoming homeless, but the Government hasn’t put in any significant measures to tackle that.”

Castigating the Government’s failure to introduce rent certainty measures, increase rent supplements, and reduce the tax burden on landlords, Mr Allen said “there’s nothing in it at all, in the areas we were looking forward to”.

The St Vincent de Paul welcomed the 50c increase in the minimum wage and reductions in the universal social charge, with SVP head of social justice and policy John-Mark McCafferty telling The Irish Catholic that “it looks like there’s a little bit for a lot of groups and it looks like those changes will make a big difference for a lot of people”. 

However, the organisation criticised how budgetary allocation for social housing is nowhere near sufficient to help the more than 89,000 households in need of homes.

Although Minister Howlin announced €17million extra for providing emergency accommodation for homeless people, Mr Allen said this will do nothing to help families at risk.


“The homelessness budget has gone up, but that’s dealing with the consequences of large scale homelessness, and there’s nothing going in to deal with the causes of it,” he said, continuing, “that’s going to pay for hotel rooms and emergency accommodation – it is essential, this increase, but what we were looking for was measures to deal with the causes of families falling into homelessness.”

Insisting that “the sort of things that are driving people into homelessness are untouched by this budget”, he said “our whole sense is that they completely fail to grasp the scale of the problem that they’re dealing with in terms of family homelessness.  

“There appear to have been proposals during the week that might have dealt with it, but the fact that cabinet couldn’t agree to bring it into the budget is very depressing,” he continued. 

“I say it’s very depressing – for the families it’s much more catastrophic than that.”