Tuesday 25 October 2016

Homeless families occupy showhouse to highlight their plight

Protesters in the Hansfield development demonstrate in support of homeless people
Protesters in the Hansfield development demonstrate in support of homeless people

Homeless families continued their occupation of a showhouse on an estate in Ongar, west Dublin, for a second day to draw attention to the housing crisis.

Supporters gathered at Ongar village yesterday evening to walk to the house for a rally.

They were accompanied by Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger.

She said the families were demanding that social and affordable housing be made available in the Hansfield estate development and the local area.

"We have 6,000 on the list, and 120 homeless families," the Dublin West TD told the Herald.


Ms Coppinger added that a number of homeless local families went into the Dail last week.

"I questioned Enda Kenny during Leader's Questions and asking him to declare a housing emergency, which he didn't do," she said.

Ms Coppinger added that people are "extremely disappointed that there doesn't seem to be any urgency about this on the part of the Government".

"Some people are living in hotels. A lot of people now are in hotels for very short terms. They are only getting three days at a time. They are not permanently in them," she said.

"Then they have to go and they have to look for somewhere else.

"They have to ring around themselves and try and self- accommodate, as it is called."

She said this posed serious problems for people with children, as they were finding themselves in accommodation miles away from their schools.

"The problem is that this is going on for a lot of them for eight months and 10 months," said the TD.

"People are told that they will be in a hotel for a short period and then it turns out that they are there for a long, long time.

"It has a really bad effect on children because they are not eating properly because there are no cooking facilities.

"Their health is suffering and it is just a really difficult situation, not being able to play properly with their friends, and that is going on for a long, long time. Some people are going into a year of this."

The Ongar sit-in comes as Environment Minister Alan Kelly is preparing to bring in emergency legislation to speed up planning for modular housing units in Dublin, if he deems it necessary.

Mr Kelly said everything was being done to help people who needs emergency accommodation, but if it was required he would fast-track legislation to deliver the units.

There is agreement to provide 500 units over time, with 150 to be made available in the short term.

He said he aims to have "a certain amount" of modular units in place before Christ-mas.

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