The newly appointed Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney says the state will spend €46m on hotel accommodation for homeless people this year.
He also said the Government are fully committed to building 35,000 homes by 2020 to fix the ongoing crisis.
Speaking on RTE Radio this morning the minister said he intends “taking on the issue with the appropriate seriousness it needs.”
“We will spend €46m on hotel bills for families who don’t have homes… That is not right. Families should not be living in hotels.
“We can find and we will find ways of providing more suitable accommodation for families that are homeless.
“I intend on taking on this issue with the appropriate seriousness that it needs.
“It is a national emergency, particularly in Dublin.”
The figure mentioned is startling considering here in Tallaght the government sold 440 apartments for roughly €100k each before Christmas. How many apartments could be built for 46 million?
Mr Coveney said he will meet with Focus Ireland and Dublin’s Simon Community today, while he already discussed the issue of bedsit accommodation with Fr Peter McVerry.
He said if bedsits are to be made available for people in emergency homeless accommodation, there must be a balance between appropriate standards and the need.
“I met Fr Peter McVerry last night and we were talking about this issue. Many bedsits were not appropriate for people,” he said.
“There are many single homeless people who would be very happy to have bedsits as an alternative to accommodation in hostels.”
“We simply don’t have enough homes for families in Ireland. That means we need to find a way of getting the construction industry up and running to build a lot more than they’re currently building and we also need to have appropriate emergency responses to families, some of whom are living in hotels at the moment.
“That is not suitable accommodation for children and families to be growing up in, so we need to replace that with something more suitable as quickly as we can.”