Mercy Law Resource Centre welcomes many of the initiatives in the government’s Housing for All strategy. In particular, it welcomes the commitments to (i) end homelessness by 2030; (ii) progress a referendum on housing; (iii) implement the White Paper to End Direct Provision; and (iv) implement the Expert Group Report on Traveller Accommodation recommendations.
Aoife Kelly-Desmond, Managing Solicitor at Mercy Law Resource Centre, said, “Mercy Law works at the frontline of the housing crisis advising families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We welcome the strategy as a step forward in the right direction.
However, while the government’s ambition to end homelessness by 2030 is welcomed, the 8132 people currently homeless in Ireland, and those in precarious or grossly unsuitable accommodation, cannot wait for 2030.
Urgent, targeted action underpinned by a rights based approach is essential to alleviate the burden of homelessness and housing insecurity on the most vulnerable in our community. We are particularly disheartened at the lack of specificity in the strategy around much-needed reform of the legal framework surrounding the provision of emergency accommodation, social housing and other supports such as HAP.
Much of the legislative framework in this area is grossly outdated, inadequate and unfit for purpose to address homelessness in modern Ireland. As an example, Mercy Law has long campaigned for revision of the Housing Act 1988, or at a minimum the issuing of new regulations under it, to provide some clarity and transparency around the provision of emergency accommodation.
We hope that the implementation of this strategy, and the forthcoming Commission on Housing, will address such matters holistically and deliver meaningful, rights based reform of the current frameworks, and ultimately a resolution to the housing crisis. Critical to this will be rebalancing the Constitution through a referendum to insert a clearly articulated positive right to housing.”