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Statement from Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government following the deaths of two people availing of homelessness supports

Published on Friday, 01 Sep 2017
Minister Eoghan Murphy

I learned with regret yesterday of the deaths of two individuals, in separate circumstances, both of whom were availing of homelessness supports.

I want to offer their families my condolences. We are treating this with the utmost seriousness and sensitivity and providing them with every assistance that we can.

Out of consideration for the two families I would ask people to respect their privacy, and not to speculate on the individual circumstances of the deceased or the cause of their deaths. It’s a very difficult time for those involved.

The unprecedented levels of homelessness that we are witnessing is totally unacceptable. The Government and my Department, working with the local authorities, voluntary sector and other stakeholders, are doing everything we can – but I know that we need to do more.

There is no shortage of will or determination to deal with this issue. Resources and funding are not an obstacle to the urgent efforts required:

  • In 2016 we provided social housing solutions for 19,000 households including 5,000 homes under the build, acquisitions and vacant homes programmes with expenditure of €935m.
  • In excess of 3,000 households left homelessness into sustainable tenancies in 2016.  In the first quarter of this year more than 900 families were accommodated.
  • This year €1.3billion is being provided to support social housing delivery, including longer term accommodation for homeless families.
  • A number of hubs are currently being developed by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to provide accommodation for some 600 families at any point in time at a total estimated cost of €25m. In June I announced a further investment of €10m for additional family facilities/hubs which will be able to accommodate at least an additional 200 families.
  • Since the end of June family facilities have opened in Drumcondra (Mater Dei) and Kylemore House Swords. Over the coming weeks and months at least 16 family facilities will be completed and will accommodate families as they present.
  • In excess of 800 Homeless Housing Assistance Payments have been put in place in Dublin since January 2017. This payment allows for up to 50% uplift above rent supplement levels, assistance with deposit payments and placefinding.
  • There are approximately 2,500 emergency beds nationally, with 2,000 in Dublin.  200 additional beds were provided in 2016 with a similar increase this year.

This remains my top priority. My review of Rebuilding Ireland is almost complete and I will shortly be announcing some new initiatives from Government that will further help our front-line services in tackling our homelessness crisis.

Next week I will hold an Emergency Housing Summit in the Custom House with each of the 31 local authorities’ Chief Executives and the Department’s senior management housing team to explore additional measures to help and to house families and individuals currently in emergency accommodation and accessing emergency state supports.