The national housing and homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust, has expressed its disappointment with today’s record homeless figure but said it is determined to work to find solutions needed to bring the number back down.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “The figures released today by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage show 10,568 people in homelessness as of July 2022. This is obviously disappointing but its hugely important that we remain focused on finding the solutions needed to reverse the trend.”
“We all remember that we had record highs before back in 2019 yet we managed then to achieve a 20% reduction in the number. We now need to repeat this and go further again by redoubling our efforts and introducing measures that will allow the numbers to fall.”
“Peter McVerry Trust believes there are three key measures that need to be introduced as early as possible to help tackle the issue.”
“As part of the cold weather strategy for this winter we need to take the step of re-introducing moratorium on evictions. There is a longstanding French model of banning evictions in autumn and winter and this needs to be considered here as it can help stem the flow of people into homelessness. It will also allow the thousands of social housing units under construction to come to fruition and allow some of these to be used to help people exit homelessness.”
“We also need to see the immediate reintroduction of national programme of long-term leasing until such time as the homeless numbers go below 8,000. Long Term Leasing is more secure and cost effective than HAP and obviously much cheaper and better than paying for emergency accommodation. A targeted leasing programme for singles and larger families can be introduced immediately with a focus on re-using vacant residential and commercial properties thus not only providing new supply but regenerating urban centres too.”
“Finally, when local authorities are making allocations to new social housing stock they need to increase the percentage of homeless allocations to these schemes. There are too many schemes where the level of homeless allocations is low and by increasing it, we can reduce the numbers in emergency settings.”
Concluding Mr Doyle said “We can’t afford to be downbeat or frustrated, there are too many people in need of solutions and that’s where our energy has to be focused.”