News & Events
Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, is calling on the Government to prioritise the needs of people in homelessness in Budget 2018. The charity made their call as they published a 12 point submission, which they believe will help to end the current homelessness and housing crisis.
The charity pointed out that this year the budget will be announced on the 10th of October, World Homeless Day. A day used by organisations like Peter McVerry Trust to highlight the needs of people impacted by homelessness in our society.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Peter McVerry Trust’s Pre-Budget Submission today, Pat Doyle, CEO said “At the core of our proposals is housing. Increased provision of affordable and social housing is the only way to deal with the current homelessness crisis in an effective and sustainable way. The need to deliver large volumes of affordable and social housing stock is the housing issue that requires immediate Government attention and increased investment”.
Mr Doyle said the Government must recognise that the current crisis will get much worse unless it takes immediate action. “In line with the current rate of people becoming homeless each month, Peter McVerry Trust predicts that there will be 8,300 people living in homeless accommodation when the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe announces details of Budget 2018 in the Dáil chamber on the 10th of October”.
— Peter McVerry Trust (@PMVTrust) August 29, 2017
Mr Doyle said Peter McVerry Trust is deeply concerned with the negative impact that the experience of homelessness will have on children and young people. “Peter McVerry Trust is proposing that all young people who experience homelessness should be given guaranteed access to counselling services and child psychologists. We are also calling on the Government to establish an educational bursary for every child and teenager who has experienced homelessness”
Mr Doyle said Peter McVerry Trust is also calling on the Government to put in place measures which will prevent more young people from ending up in homeless services. “Almost 50% of those in homeless services are aged under 24. There are steps that the Government can take to ensure this figure doesn’t grow any further. These include restoring social welfare payment rates for those aged under 26, and ensuring that adequate levels of housing and support services are made available to those who are exiting State care and in danger of becoming homeless”.
Empty Homes Tax
Peter McVerry Trust also repeated its longstanding call for the Government to introduce an empty homes tax. “The measures announced to date by Government focus on providing financial incentives to bring vacant properties back into use. This incentive only model is not working. This is clearly demonstrated by the very low numbers of property owners signing up to the Repair and Leasing scheme”.
Mr Doyle said “Peter McVerry Trust is calling for a balance of incentive and punitive measures to be implemented in order to bring much needed houses back into use. We are urging the Government to quickly bring forward an empty tax or levy based on a property’s value”.
Mr Doyle said “Our aim is to secure the most effective and sustainable housing led response to homelessness. Budget 2018 must offer additional resources to deliver an unrelenting approach in the battle to end the housing and homeless crisis”.
The Peter McVerry Trust Pre-Budget Submission 2018 proposes the following actions in order to bring about meaningful and effective solutions to the current homelessness and housing crisis.
Peter McVerry Trust believes the Government needs to expand the Housing First Programme to operate nationally. At the moment, a State funded Housing First Programme only operates in Dublin.
Peter McVerry Trust is urging the Government to support and fund Local Authorities to build affordable and social housing for buying and letting. Currently, the Private Rental Market is the main cause of new cases of homelessness; the Government needs to intervene to build housing units, and create affordable and sustainable tenancies for those struggling to afford skyrocketing rent levels.
The Government need to take urgent action to tackle the rising number of young people becoming homeless. Peter McVerry Trust wants the Government to put funding in place to ensure children and teenagers, who are currently experiencing homelessness, have access to the necessary mental health care and educational funding needed to allow them to achieve their full potential and prevent them from experiencing homelessness again in later life.
Peter McVerry Trust is calling for social welfare payments for those aged under 26 to be immediately restored. We believe that the reduction of social welfare payment rates for this age group since the beginning of 2014, has contributed to the rising levels of young people experiencing homelessness in recent years.
The Peter McVerry Trust has been a strong advocate for the opportunity that vacant houses and properties present in bringing about supply quickly. However, the measures announced by the Government to date have not been sufficient in encouraging the owners of empty properties to sell or rent them out to for use as social housing.
The Peter McVerry Trust proposes that previously vacant and derelict properties, which are sold to housing associations, should be exempt from Property Gains Tax. This measure should be introduced in tandem with an empty homes tax.
Peter McVerry Trust is calling on the Government to ensure that Housing Assistance Payments are secure and sustainable and are increased in line with the cost of renting.
Peter McVerry Trust is urging the Government to include the provision of 1-bed and 2-bed units in their Rapid Build housing plan, to meet the needs of households made up of individuals and couples.
Peter McVerry Trust is urging the Government to increase funding available for the Capital Assistance Scheme. We also believe that better value for money could be achieved if the window of time for putting forward proposed projects was expanded in order to include a wider range of properties.
Peter McVerry Trust believes that with some reforms, the current Repair and Leasing Scheme would have greater uptake from owners of empty homes. We believe the current rental income rate offered, should be increased to offer a stronger incentive for to landlords to participate in the scheme.
Peter McVerry Trust is calling on the Government to increase funding for drug treatment services, to allow greater availability and access to primary services.
Peter McVerry Trust is calling on the Government to increase its provision of aftercare and drug-free housing for those leaving drug treatment services.