Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, has said that Budget 2020 represents a missed opportunity to strengthen ongoing work to prevent homelessness and deliver more social housing for single person households.
The charity said that notwithstanding the major challenges of climate change and Brexit, homelessness needs to be given greater priority since the number of people accessing emergency accommodation has risen by over 6% since Budget 2019 was announced last October.
The charity said it welcomed the increase in the overall housing budget to just €2.5 billion and an increase in the State’s funding for emergency homeless accommodation to €166 million for 2020.
Francis Doherty, Head of Communications at Peter McVerry Trust said “We welcome the increase in the operational budget for emergency accommodation which reflects an expected increase in the numbers of people who will experience homelessness in 2020.
Unfortunately, the €20 million increase in the funding in 2020 will be split across emergency accommodation, prevention measures as well as day services. Given that the rate of new cases into homelessness is at the highest rate on record, Peter McVerry Trust advocated strongly and had hoped for a robust package of prevention initiatives.”
Urban Regeneration Fund
“We warmly welcome the Urban Regeneration Fund of €130 million to help regenerate town and village centres, we hope that this will add to work underway to reuse empty buildings for social housing and encourage more people to live in town centres.”
HAP Budget of €80 million
“The additional €80 million for Housing Assistance Payment scheme (HAP) in 2020 is a recognition that we will remain very much dependent on the private rental market to accommodate those in need of social housing and the continuing rise in cost of rent in key urban areas.
Land Development Agency
“The money set aside in Budget 2020 for the Land Development Agency is hopefully the start of a long term major funding stream for the agency to deliver social and affordable housing. While the €17.5 million will not deliver many units, it is important that the agency is given the direction and funds to ramp up its social housing output.”
Living City Initiative
“Peter McVerry Trust welcomed the decision to extend the Living City Initiative (LCI) as it is working with a number of investors to bring about new social housing supply via the LCI.”