Sinn Féin introduces Homeless Prevention Bill – McGuinness

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor McGuinness has welcomed the introduction of the Homeless Prevention Bill 2020, which aims to places a legal obligation on local authorities to provide people at risk of homelessness with a plan and appropriate supports to prevent them from entering homeless services. The Bill was introduced in the Dáil by Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin O’Broin TD.

McGuinness said

“The Homeless Prevention Bill 2020 is focused on homeless prevention and places a statutory obligation on local authorities to adopt a proactive approach once someone has been identified as being at risk of homelessness.

“Today, when households receive a notice to quit and are at risk of homelessness, there is nothing the local authority can do until they are in fact homeless. 

“In some cases, families can access the higher homeless Housing Assistant Payment rates, but they still have to source accommodation in the private rented sector themselves. A lack of affordable private rental accommodation in West Waterford is driving rents sky high and making is exceptionally difficult to find a house or apartment for rent. 

“Waterford City and County Council must be adequately resourced to take a more hands-on role and to provide a plan and the appropriate supports to people who are at risk of homelessness 60 days before they have to leave their accommodation.

“Homelessness figures remain unacceptably high across the South East. What these figures don’t how is the chronic levels of hidden homeless – people sofa surfing, people surviving in overcrowded or unsafe accommodation,

“This Bill also pays particular attention to the needs of homeless children, care leavers, victims of domestic abuse, and people with a mental illness. 

“More needs to be done to prevent households from entering homeless services in the first place.

“Empowering and resourcing local authorities to assist families before they lose their home is something that I hope all political parties can support.”