Home­less­ness group slams lack of po­lit­i­cal will

Irish Examiner - - News - Joyce Fe­gan

The or­gan­is­ers of the child home­less­ness cam­paign #MyNameis have been con­tacted by a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter from New Zealand but have yet to en­gage with the Ir­ish Gov­ern­ment.

“A gov­ern­ment min­is­ter from New Zealand has been in touch,” said An­thony Flynn, CEO of In­ner City Help­ing Home­less, the group be­hind the cam­paign.

“I’m very, very dis­ap­pointed with the po­lit­i­cal will. This cam­paign has touched a na­tion and it’s touched peo­ple’s hearts through sto­ries like David’s.”

This week a video of nine-year-old David went vi­ral when it showed him strug­gling to ac­cess and move around his emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion on ac­count of his walker, which he needs be­cause of his cere­bral palsy.

David is seen try­ing to walk up steps with his walker. It is un­der­stood a ramp is to be in­stalled at the B&B as a re­sult of the at­ten­tion his case re­ceived.

“And the only re­sponse we’ve had is a ramp. A ramp? A ramp is not the an­swer,” said Mr Flynn. He said the so­lu­tions to end eco­nomic home­less­ness ex­ist but the po­lit­i­cal will needed to im­ple­ment them are not.

“Eight thou­sand peo­ple are home­less (2,895 of whom are chil­dren), that is not a very big num­ber in the larger con­text.

“The is­sue is po­lit­i­cal will. There’s no po­lit­i­cal will,” said Mr Flynn.

“I un­der­stand politi­cians are on hol­i­days but home­less­ness doesn’t take a hol­i­day. We’ve had six min­is­ters with chang­ing port­fo­lios in five years. We’ve had 29 failed hous­ing ini­tia­tives and we’re go­ing to have a 30th with the re­brand­ing of Re­build­ing Ire­land,” he said.

The hous­ing ac­tivist, who set up In­ner City Help­ing Home­less four years ago to ad­dress the ris­ing num­ber of rough sleep­ers in the cap­i­tal, said he is dis­ap­pointed with the low num­ber of politi­cians who at­tended the cam­paign’s events so far in Au­gust.

“At a public meet­ing we held two weeks ago we in­vited ev­ery TD in the coun­try and coun­cil­lors from Dublin City Council and South Dublin County Council and there were one TD and some coun­cil­lors. It was a very poor show.

“An event we held on Mon­day night, same again, one TD showed up and some So­cial Democrats,” he said.

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