An F grade was given to the government for their performance relating to child and family homelessness, in the annual Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card.

In 2018 and 2017 government received an E grade for their work on child and family homelessness however that standard fell to an F in the 2019 Report Card.

“Between 2017 and 2018, the number of children entering homelessness accommodation increased by 500,” said Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance Tanya Ward.

“We now have 3,800 children in homeless accommodation at the end of 2018,” she continued.

Ward stated that that “more public housing must be provided rather than over-relying on the private rented sector” to effectively address the housing “crisis.”

However, during an Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Anti-Eviction Bill Tom O’Brien from the Irish Property Owners Association stated that supply is the real issue that is not being addressed in relation to the housing crisis.

He added that reports from showed stock continuously declining and therefore “there’s a shortage of accommodation” which continues to grow because of landlords selling.

O’Brien told the Committee of a case in Dublin 9 where north of 50 of 72 calls enquiring about getting accommodation where because a landlord was selling the property they were living in.

He continued to say that a solution to fixing the housing crisis would be to provide tax incentives for people to invest in properties which “has been proven to reduce rent.”

The Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card was to grade the government on “its commitments to children,” added Ward.

 The Alliance gave an overall D+ grade to the Category: Right to an Adequate Standard of Living. This is the same grade they received last year.

“The right to a home is a basic human right that one would think of in terms of being a sort of Constitutional right. The need for people with families to have homes is an absolute,” said Justice Catherine McGuinness who was at the panel discussion on the Annual Report Card.

Another figure to come from the Report Card was 2,250 children are waiting for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS) appointment and “7206 children last September where waiting for a first appointment with a community psychologist,” said Ward.

The lowest grades on the report card, except for child and family homelessness, were children’s mental health under ‘Right to Health’ and traveller and Roma children under ‘Right to Equality,’ which both received a D-.

The overall grade given to the category: Right to an Adequate Standard of Living, stayed at D+. Child and family homelessness falls under this category.

The best grade on the report card was an A- for the Government’s involvement with LGBTI+ children and young people which came under the category: Right to Equality.

The Alliance gave the Government and overall C grade, taking into account all categories, for 2019 in this year’s Annual Report Card.

By Cait Caden

Image Credit: Cait Caden

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