herald

Friday 24 November 2017

Minister offers Dublin destitute chance of a 'house in the country'

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

The Government will offer homeless families from Dublin a move to the country in a radical bid to ease the accommodation crisis.

The strategy was revealed at yesterday's Housing Summit by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. He said families wishing to move to rural areas would be helped in phase one of the new policy.

The Place Finder Service was first raised in Programme for Government talks.

Voluntary relocation will be open to the homeless, those on the social housing list and those in emergency accommodation.

"We believe that there is an appetitive from people who are either on the social housing list or homeless or in emergency accommodation to relocate from the current areas they're in," said Mr Murphy.

"You can have someone originally from Mayo, for example, but now living in Dublin. He's on the social housing list, but wants to go back to Mayo."

The minister added that the relocation plan is aimed at finding "stable, long-term accommodation in another part of the country".

Support

Each local authority will help homeless households to obtain a suitable property, as well as providing them with advice and support in establishing their new lives under a different local authority.

Mr Murphy said this will require cross-agency and loc-al authority cooperation and will be part of a broader rural regeneration.

In a range of measures and promises announced yesterday, the minister said an extra 200 emergency beds would be delivered for homeless people by December.

He also pledged that 800 new properties in the social housing category will be built next year, raising the total stock from 3,000 to 3,800.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said earlier that the increase in social housing "won't be enough" to fix the problem this year.

"It is absolutely the case that the lack of supply is a fundamental problem,"he said.

"For seven or eight years, almost no houses were built by the Government and almost no houses were built by the private sector. That was a consequence of the economic collapse, which was not caused by this Government."

Children

About 8,160 people, nearly 3,000 of them children, are homeless, according to recent figures.

There are 200 people on average sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin every night.

The Government report on homeless people in emergency accommodation such as hotels and hostels in July revealed 1,429 families caught up in the crisis.

For people in mortgage arrears, a new mortgage to rent scheme will shortly be announced.

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