9th October 2019
Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, said it welcomes a series of measures announced today in Budget 2019.
Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, said it welcomes a series of measures announced today in Budget 2019. The charity said it believed that the measures outlined by the Minister for Finance and Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe TD, would ease the huge pressures on the housing system and welcomed the Minister’s prioritisation of the needs of vulnerable people.
Broad welcome for housing measures
The charity’s CEO, Pat Doyle said “Peter McVerry Trust is delighted that housing was to the fore of Budget 2019. Given the scale of our housing and homeless challenge, it was important that the momentum that has been generated by the regular policy and funding announcements for housing was maintained.”
“I believe that the measures outlined today in the areas of housing and homelessness will ease the pressure on the housing system. The minister was very clear in prioritising increased spending in the areas of homelessness, social and affordable housing above other areas with very significant increases in housing targets. This is a very important commitment that means organisations like Peter McVerry Trust can do more to respond to the needs of vulnerable people in our society.”
€60 million capital spending on tackling homelessness
Mr Doyle said he was very happy to see €60 million for capital spending specifically to provide homeless services. “The announcement of an increased budget for a capital programme related to the delivery of new homeless services will enable local authorities and NGOs to increase the availability of emergency accommodation, responding to the growing need for such services and will help get more people off the streets. The fact that this is capital funding means we can acquire buildings and then when no longer needed for emergency accommodation to flip them into social housing units.”
25% increase in spending on delivery of homeless services
Mr Doyle also welcomed more funding to operate homeless services across the country. “The announcement today of an increase in spending on the delivery of homeless supports of €30 million is a 25% year on year increase. This funding boost will allow us to provide emergency supports and services to those impacted by homelessness. In fact, since 2016 the budget for homeless services will have increased from €70 million to €146 million, an increase of 108%.”
€121 million extra for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP)
“The increased budget allocation of €121 million for HAP is something we very much welcome. HAP has been and will continue to be a very important way of exiting people from homelessness. While housing output in particular social housing output continues to increase we will remain very much reliant on HAP as an exit route for people in homelessness. More money for the scheme will mean more people exiting homelessness and more people prevented from entering homelessness in the first place.”
Affordable Housing Scheme
The charity said it also welcomed the new affordable housing scheme. “Peter McVerry Trust believes that the measures set out to make homes more affordable for those on middle incomes will help more people trapped in the rental system get their own home. It will, I hope, mean that the pressures on the rental system are eased and perhaps more properties become available for those exiting homelessness.”
Social protection and Education Measures
Finally, Mr Doyle said that he was also happy to see increased funding in areas such as social protection and education which will have positive benefits on homelessness. “Measures such as increases for the clothing allowance, back to school allowance, and increased welfare payments in the area of social protection will help people and families in homelessness.”“Investment in education is the best long term preventative strategy to tackle homelessness. The increased spending on the capitation grant, with a 5% increase in the grant, will help schools better respond to the needs of children as will the additional 950 special needs assistants to be funded in Budget 2019.”