‘TIME FOR AC­TION’ ON HOME­LESS IS­SUE

COUN­CIL­LORS UN­HAPPY OVER EX­CLU­SION FROM HOME­LESS­NESS FO­RUM

Bray People - - NEWS - By DEB­O­RAH COLE­MAN

‘IT’S time for ac­tion’ was the view ex­pressed by Cllr John Snell at a re­cent meet­ing of Wick­low County Coun­cil where the is­sue of home­less­ness was de­bated.

Cllr Snell up­dated mem­bers fol­low­ing a meet­ing with Wick­low TDs which was also at­tended by Cathaoir­leach Chris Fox and Mar­garet Malone of the coun­cil’s Hous­ing Sec­tion.

‘We all have to pull to­gether in re­gards to this. It’s ‘ team Wick­low’, it’s very easy for peo­ple to sit on the dif­fer­ent as some peo­ple would re­fer to them and crit­i­cise but it’s time for ac­tion.

‘We all know as pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives that there is peo­ple pre­sent­ing as home­less out here on a weekly ba­sis, and the fact is that a lot of mem­bers are not ac­tu­ally fa­mil­iar with the fig­ure that we’re talk­ing about.

‘In 2014 we had 128 adults present as home­less to the counter of Wick­low County Coun­cil. 89 of th­ese adults were males, 39 fe­males,’ said Cllr Snell.

‘ But I think the big­gest indictment and I sup­pose the most cru­cial change to this per­cep­tion of home­less peo­ple is that 90 fam­i­lies pre­sented to Wick­low County Coun­cil as ei­ther home­less or at risk of home­less­ness; 127 adults and 172 chil­dren.

‘I think no child should be put up in a ho­tel or a B&B, and un­like the Min­is­ter where they seem to be ad­dress­ing up to Christ­mas. They are talk­ing about there will be a room or a bed for ev­ery­one up to Christ­mas. What hap­pens after Christ­mas? What hap­pens out­side of Dublin?’ he said.

Cllr Joe Be­han ex­pressed con­cern that no mem­bers of the coun­cil were in­vited to the re­cent Home­less­ness Fo­rum in Dublin de­spite the close prox­im­ity of Bray and con­sid­er­ing the fact that it has been af­fected by the is­sue on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions in re­cent years.

Cllr Pat Fitzger­ald ex­pressed the view that it is re­gret­ful that no­body work­ing with the home­less in County Wick­low was in­vited to at­tend the fo­rum.

‘ This is the big­gest cri­sis in this county and coun­try for many years and it was brought it home to me last week a fam­ily I was deal­ing with tell me it’s the sixth time they are mov­ing in nine years ei­ther through dis­tressed homes be­ing sold or what­ever, rent al­lowance.

‘So it is a ma­jor is­sue that has been top of the agenda in this county, but un­for­tu­nately only now be­come top of the agenda with the gov­ern­ment, there are many peo­ple af­fected by the is­sues.

‘I can name four fam­i­lies in Ark­low one who has been given a date to get out of the house by Christ­mas Day. But the sit­u­a­tion is se­ri­ous, it’s a much big­ger is­sue for me than wa­ter charges, be­cause th­ese peo­ple won’t get an op­por­tu­nity if they have no home to pay wa­ter charges, that’s what we should protest about to be hon­est about it, in larger mea­sures,’ he said.

Cllr Miriam Murphy re­minded her fel­low coun­cil­lors that along with the is­sue of home­less­ness is the need for support.

‘It’s not just hav­ing no house, it’s the support. There’s a whole lot of re­la­tion­ships with other ser­vices that need to be built up. No­body should be a statis­tic,’ she said.

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