A local homelessness charity has written to the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue with a range of recommendations for Budget 2020 which they believe are necessary to address the growing homelessness crisis.
COPE Galway, in its Budget 2020 Submission, called on Minister Donohue and his colleagues in Government to address the urgent need for additional social housing provision and to introduce measures to increase availability and security in the private rental sector.
Among the measures COPE Galway is seeking in Budget 2020 is an affordable renting system through a Cost Rental Model and a change in the rules on Part 4 Tenancies by introducing indefinite tenancies.
Other measures proposed include increasing the funding allocations to the Residential Tenancies Board to support them to fulfil their obligations and resourcing local authorities to enforce the new regulations introduced in respect of short-term lettings.
Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway said: “Rising rents, insecurity of tenancies and a shortage of housing are factors which are negatively impacting on the lives of many of the individuals and families we work with on a day to day basis.
“We are urging Government to do more to address these issues as a matter of urgency and Budget 2020 is the opportunity to do this”.
COPE Galway has also highlighted the difficulties of an ever-growing number of families who are homeless and living in emergency accommodation, many in B&B and hotel room settings, for extended periods of time.
The organisation is calling on Government to use Budget 2020 to introduce measures to counter the risk of families being institutionalised as a result of their living situation.
They suggest measures such as a move to ‘own door’ emergency accommodation for families as an alternative to B&Bs and hotel rooms as well as the provision of funding for specific training and support programmes for families living in what are ‘non-traditional’ settings.
“While the focus must be on bringing more housing on stream and moving people out of homelessness into their own homes, we must also recognise that this is taking much longer than anyone expected and as a consequence some families are continuing to live in unsuitable emergency accommodation for extended periods of time” explained Mr O’Connor.
“A lot of work is happening at a local level here in Galway to help families who are enduring this living situation and we want to see more done to counter the damage the experience of homelessness has on the lives of those who are caught up in it. The measures we are putting forward for inclusion in Budget 2020 are vital to this effort.”
Other areas where COPE Galway put forward recommendations for Budget 2020 include addressing youth housing and homelessness by way of a fully funded Youth Homelessness Strategy and ensuring that there are an adequate number of emergency beds available year round for those who are rough sleeping.
There is also a call to provide funding to ensure accommodation for all who seek refuge from domestic abuse by starting a process of moving towards at least one place per 10,000 of population.