As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts, I intern at Focus Ireland, a nonprofit centered around ending homelessness across Ireland. Homelessness in Ireland has increased drastically over the past few years. For example, in 2016, 75 families became homeless a month in Ireland versus only 20 a month in 2014. With numbers still increasing, people wonder what the government is doing to help with this homelessness crisis. Unfortunately, the answer is not much.
Consistently, Irish government says that homelessness is one of its top priorities, but their actions do not match this sentiment. Many homeless children are housed in police (Garda) stations because there are no emergency accommodations available. Emergency accommodations, in fact, are often populated for much longer than their intended 6 week period. Some families are forced to stay in hotels. A big suggestion to help these issues is to mandate that the government provide more social housing. Currently, they only provide 10 percent.
One report from The Irish Times said that homelessness across Ireland will not be taken seriously until it affects voters. This is a sad truth. From a human rights and dignity perspective, homelessness is an absolute travesty but the government tends to focus more on “real” issues that affect a large percentage of voters, such as the economy. I am not entirely sure what it will take for the Irish government to really tackle the issue of homelessness, but I do know that without a meaningful intervention, the problem will only increase.