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Homeless Families Bill must be passed

19 May 2023

  • Lack of urgency worrying in advance of April’s homelessness figures

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has urged Government to fast track Labour’s Homeless Families Bill to protect families vulnerable to facing eviction and homelessness.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Labour is calling on Government to fast-track this legislation which is supported by Focus Ireland.

“Families nationwide continue to deal with the fallout from the disastrous decision of Government to lift the eviction ban without any evidence basis and with insufficient plans in place to ensure safeguards for those families and households at real risk of eviction. We anticipate that publication will take place next week of the update number of people living in homelessness. This report is likely to capture the increased levels of crisis as a result of the lifting of the ban.

"Jan O’Sullivan published Labour’s Homeless Families Bill in 2017, and it is designed to ensure that families with children have the needs of those children prioritised by authorities when seeking housing allocation.

"This Bill was supported by Fianna Fail in opposition, but more recently has been ignored by Minister O’Brien, nor has the government produced its own equivalent legislation.

"The prospect of homelessness is one of the hardest challenges any child or family can face. Yet what have we seen from Fine Gael on this issue? A continued lack of supply, an almost complete surrender of responsibility to the private market, and a devastating decision to lift the eviction ban that was acting as a life raft to many families.

“This government clearly does not appreciate the complexity of family and childhood homelessness. Children doing their homework on hotel room floors, no play dates and nowhere to make a school lunch.

“Housing for All is failing to protect those who need it most. This conservative coalition must wake up to the reality of this crisis and put families and children first by enacting Labour’s Homeless Families Bill.”