Novas urges politicians to work together to end the Housing and Homeless Crisis

With a single-party government a highly unlikely outcome of the upcoming election, Novas urges political parties and independent TD’s to work together to implement urgent solutions to the current housing and homeless crisis.

Dr. Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications with Novas believes that ‘a cross-party approach rooted in increasing supply is required to stem the tide of households becoming homeless. We need in the region of 35,000 new houses each year which must include a mixture of private, social, affordable and cost rental. The type and location of housing must consider current household composition. With single households comprising almost 24% of all households in the country, we require smaller units, one and two-beds.’

‘While homelessness is complex, the proliferation of the issue since 2014 is rooted in the lack of housing, particularly social housing provided by the state. Addressing the supply issue takes time of course, but it must be accelerated and social housing must replace HAP as the primary means of social housing support in the country’, says Burns.

She went on to say that enshrining the Right to Housing in the Constitution is also fundamental in addressing the housing crisis. While in isolation, it will not solve the problem, it provides a floor of protection in respect of basic housing. The Irish Constitution does not even provide for the Right to Shelter, which is at the discretion of local authorities.’. Burns went on to cite an example of our near neighbours Scotland, where a family can spend no longer than seven days in emergency accommodation, which she compares to the situation here ‘where families can languish for months and even years in emergency accommodation’.

Novas is urging all parties to commit to developing a National Homeless Family Strategy, to reduce the trauma and adverse childhood experiences children and teenagers are exposed to through protracted periods of homelessness.