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“Homelessness is as a result of political choices”
Carthy addresses EU Housing conference
The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands, North-West, Matt Carthy, has said that the levels of homelessness experienced throughout Ireland and in many EU states are a direct result of the political choices taking by governments and EU institutions.
Carthy was invited to deliver the opening address at a conference hosted by FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, in Brussels last week. The conference saw the launch by the Housing Solutions Platform of a compendium document detailing some of the most innovative and daring examples of housing solutions for the locked out in Europe.
The selected projects in the paper entitled “50m Out-of-the-box Solutions for the Locked-Out” focus on providing safe, decent, and affordable housing through many different means including innovative construction, novel legal mechanisms, new forms of inter-agency collaboration, and more. The innovative housing solutions selected in the paper also provide ways to overcome financial and political barriers within the European housing market.
During his opening remarks at the conference held in European Parliament organised Matt Carthy said:
“In the past decade homelessness has increased throughout the EU by 70%.
“In Ireland, the number of those homeless has trebled in the past five years alone. Many families, who during any other generation would be purchasing their own home, instead find that they cannot even find affordable rental accomodation.
“All of this is as a result of political choices.
“The scandalous rise in homelessness is not accidental. Governments were told by parties like Sinn Féin that the implementation of austerity policies, their privatization agenda and the de-financing of public bodies would lead us to where we are today.
“In particular, the retreat from public housing provision by governments such as those lead by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and the drive to allow ‘the market’ to played the key role in house building are the route causes of the crisis we see in Ireland and elsewhere”.
Carthy asserted that it is only through the delivery of public housing provision that the current crisis will be addressed.
“The good news is the solutions are there, and they are simple. They have been adopted before, indeed my own family was a beneficiary. They revolve around local-authority led house building programmes and supports for first-time buyers in the private market.
“Just as the problems were caused by political choices so too will the solutions be found. In Ireland, only Sinn Féin articulates these solutions and only Sinn Féin will have the political guts to implement them.
“So, those who want to resolve the current crisis and ensure that their own children can ever live in their own home need to get behind the policies that will deliver” he concluded.