Focus Ireland Warns that Budget 2014 Must Put People First

Focus Ireland has warned the government that it must row back on austerity cuts and “put people first” in Budget 2014 to avoid forcing more households into homelessness.

The charity issued the stark warning today as it launched its Pre-Budget Submission which is titled "Put People First" (Click here for the submission).

It called for the Government to invest €400 Million to help deliver 3000 homes and boost the economy by creating up to 3200 jobs in construction and supply.

Focus Ireland warned that support services are already struggling to cope as seven new people are becoming homeless every day in Dublin. As the Budget countdown continues the charity also highlighted the number of families becoming homeless every month in Dublin has recently doubled from an average of 8 to 16 families every month.

Focus Ireland is the lead agency for Dublin City Council in working to support families who become homeless and to try to get them into more suitable long-term accommodation and find a route out of homelessness.

Focus Ireland will be presenting it budget proposals to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance on Wednesday, 11 September at 11.30am.


 
Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland said:  “The last five budgets have been dominated by numbers and impact on the lives of real people has been ignored. We can’t continue with just relentless austerity measures.  We need urgent investment in housing as there are now over 100,000 households on housing waiting lists. We also need steps taken to protect people struggling on low incomes or welfare so we can prevent people from losing their homes.”

The charity’s submission also includes a number of specific measures to protect hard-pressed low income households in order to prevent a deepening homeless crisis. The charity warned that these measures are vital as the situation worsens with nearly 20% of all mortgage holders in arrears and many thousands in rented accommodation struggling with rent arrears.

These specific actions include:

  • Deliver a €400m boost to capital funding to build social housing in Dublin in Budget 2013, as part of the stimulus package to create jobs and meet social needs.
  • No further cuts in Department of Environment or HSE funding for homeless services.
  • Maintain social welfare payment for people of working age.
  • Ensure that family and child income supports are not reduced for low income families, including those in low paid employment and dependent upon Family Income Supplement.

Focus Ireland will be presenting it budget proposals to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance on Wednesday, 11 September at 11.30am.

Download or view the Pre-Budget Submission here (PDF).