TD says Govt in 'absolute denial' about housing crisis as homeless family forced to sleep in car

Thursday 17 April 2014 00.10
Independent TD Catherine Murphy has claimed that the Government is 'in absolute denial' about the housing crisis
Independent TD Catherine Murphy has claimed that the Government is 'in absolute denial' about the housing crisis

Independent TD Catherine Murphy said she has become aware of a family who slept in their car last week as their local authority could not provide them with accommodation.

Addressing Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in the Dáil, Ms Murphy claimed that the Government is "in absolute denial" about the housing crisis.

The Kildare North TD said: "I just don't know what country you are living in minister, but you are not talking reality from the point of view of the people in the larger urban centres."

She cited the Simon Community who have said that "we are at a crisis level, not just people who are traditionally homeless but we are now seeing families homeless increasingly".

She said that there is a "disaster on the doorstep".

Ms Murphy said she had a family last week that slept with their child in a car.

They went to their local authority and asked them what they would do that night and they were told by the local authority to find a relative or friend.

The family are now eight weeks homeless and Ms Murphy said she could go through a litany of others who are in the same position.

Ms Burton said the solution to this is to get a supply of houses built.

She said that on the current figures there are less than 1,500 properties available to rent in Dublin on 1 November last year, compared to over 6,700 on the same date four years previously.

The critical issue is the recommence housing construction, she said.

The minister also criticised the practice of property websites for asking landlords if they accept rent supplement.

She said that some websites ask landlords to tick a box about rent supplement and said this is a very unfair attitude to people on a rent supplement.

Ms Murphy said that there is something like 90,000 families on housing lists nationally and there is another avalanche coming down the road.

She said the number of houses supplied as social housing will be in the hundreds.

It will not even touch the amount that is needed, she said, adding that we will have to rely on private rented accommodation until supply meets demand.

She said there needs to be a broad approach to housing strategy.

In the short term, there needs to be something done as we are seeing families finding it impossible to rent with rent caps, she added.