Some home truths
MORE than 3,000 children are now in emergency accommodation, the latest official figures show. This is unacceptable: no child should be brought up living in a hotel.
However, in tackling this moral wrong, we must not be afraid to establish why it is happening.
Has every parent in emergency accommodation done all they could to prevent this happening – or did they turn down offers of accommodation (as we know that some have done) because the house on offer was in the ‘wrong’ suburb?
Did they accept the Government’s HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme, which gives homeless families up to almost €1,500 a month to rent a home of their own?
Or did they refuse this money because it might then move them down the housing list?
In the many cases of single mothers being homeless, are the fathers concerned doing all that they can to put a roof over their children’s heads?
The solution to child homelessness is not just building more houses, it is ensuring that families do not become homeless in the first place.
And if that involves forcing some families to do more to help themselves, so that all resources can be targeted on those who truly have no alternative, then that is what must be done.