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Kelly’s plan to end homelessness ‘unachievable’

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly’s plans to end Ireland’s housing and homelessness crisis have

been criticized by homeless trust founder Fr Peter McVerry.

The Government’s plan to provide 35,000 new social housing units by 2020 and end homelessness by

2016 has been labelled “Alice in Wonderland politics” by Fr McVerry.

Mr Kelly has since expressed his disappointment of Fr. McVerry’s comments, saying “I’m used to those

comments from him. I haven’t heard him say one thing positive yet in relation to anything. Which is

unfortunate because many members of his staff work with us and would have contrary views, or express

contrary views. I’d rather if people were more constructive.”

Mr Kelly is “happy to talk to him [McVerry] any time,” and was due to meet him to discuss the issue, but this

arrangement was later cancelled by the homelessness campaigner.

The scheme mentioned in the ‘Social Housing Strategy’ is set to end Ireland’s homelessness crisis by 2016,

and was introduced by the Government on the 26th of November 2014 to solve the city’s demand for

homes.

The Government’s plan has been deemed ‘unachievable’ by Fr. McVerry as families are being forced to

live on the streets due to issues which are developing in the private, rental and social housing sectors. ­ “I

think we have a perfect storm. We have three housing sectors; the private, the social and the rental market,

they’re all in crisis at the same time.”

Fr. McVerry argued that the country was “back to square one” with “families on the street like times of famine”,

after homeless people told of how the 271 emergency beds put in place over the Christmas holidays were

removed five weeks later.

According to the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, 359 families are in emergency accommodation in

the capital; including 780 children.

“Nothing is being done to stem the flow of homelessness. In the private rented sector people are being

evicted because they can’t afford their rents.” McVerry added.

Mr. Kelly accepts Fr. McVerry’s critiques, but emphasizes the measures that are being taken to tackle the

issue, saying “I take criticism all the time and I always take what he says and use it and try and channel it

but, to be frank, you’re talking to the person who’s put more money into housing than anyone on this island

in the history of this State.”

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