Saturday, 26th May 2018
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The support for the national demonstration against homelessness in Dublin on 7 April is growing every day, according to Una Dunphy of People Before Profit. Insisting that housing is a human right, the National Homeless and Housing Coalition, made up of political parties, trade unions and campaigning groups is calling on the public to recognise the need for action to address the homelessness and housing crisis.

"This is a national emergency", says Una Dunphy. "There are 8,600 homeless people in emergency accommodation, 120,600 households on public housing lists, 72,500 in mortgage arrears, 900,000 renting with many paying unaffordable rents and being evicted daily by landlords. Successive governments created the crisis by not building local authority housing and by selling many billions worth of property through NAMA to vulture funds and private developers.

To force the Government into action we need everybody on the streets. Together we can take on the powerful interests who benefit from the brutal inequality in Irish society".

People Before Profit, along with Solidarity, Sinn Féin and the Labour Party enthusiastically and fully endorse the ICTU Charter for Housing Rights which includes a call for a declaration of a national housing emergency, delivery of 10,000 new homes a year for the next five years and a referendum on a Constitutional right to housing.

At the launch of the Charter a housing expert said that the current crisis was caused by the withdrawal by local authorities and the Department of Housing from the direct provision of housing from the late 1980s. Since then the Department had moved from managing a system of housing delivery to managing a market. And the market is running rings around them. In most things the market gets its way. Government policy appeared to be to bring in solutions that were the most profitable for the private sector. The vast bulk of public money being spent on social housing is to private landlords through rent supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). If they go on like this, by 2019 the Government would be spending over €1 billion a year on HAP, up from the current €730 million.

Una Dunphy says "People power beat the water charges and we can force the Government to fulfil its responsibility to the homeless and the victims of vulture funds. We are organising locally throughout Ireland, and as a start people are invited to join the National Homeless and Housing Coalition Demonstration at 1pm on Saturday 7th April at the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin".

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