Ireland facing 'wave of homelessness' if Covid-19 protections lifted

Ireland facing 'wave of homelessness' if Covid-19 protections lifted

A HOMELESS charity has warned that the country is facing a 'wave of homelessness' if provisions designed to protect people from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic are lifted.

Focus Ireland has penned a letter to Leo Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Eamon Ryan, the respective leaders of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Green Party who are currently in government formation talks, urging the Government not to lift protections too early.

Protections for homeowners and tenants were introduced at the start of the pandemic which included the banning of evictions, the freezing of mortgage payments and the provision of emergency accommodation for the homeless.

In a letter seen by The Irish Examiner, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan warned of a "wave of homelessness" was imminent if the protections were lifted without a viable alternative arrangement.

Homeless people "must not suddenly lose [the] accommodation" afforded to them due to pandemic - Focus Ireland CEO (Getty Images)
Stating that the new government must put a roadmap in place with regards to homelessness and housing, he said there "is a danger of a sudden high number of evictions" due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

These evictions would result in many people becoming homeless, he said.

Removing the ban of evictions would need to be announced far in advance in order for people to learn their rights and have time to attempt to find alternative accommodation.

Due to the pandemic, over 1,000 emergency accommodation beds were created in Dublin, with the number of rough sleepers in the capital dropping to its lowest in decades.

Mr Dennigan reiterated that these people "must not suddenly lose this accommodation".