MakeRoom, the campaign alliance of Focus Ireland, the Simon Communities of Ireland, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and Threshold, has today welcomed the passing into law of the Housing Bill 2008.
Speaking after the Bill was passed from the Seanad to President McAleese, Kieran Murphy, CEO of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul said:
On behalf of MakeRoom I want to welcome the passing into law of the Housing Bill 2008. This is an important piece of legislation, which will significantly improve the ability of Local Authorities to deliver quality housing services. More importantly from our point of view, the sections dealing with homelessness will play an important role in the effort to end long term homelessness by 2010.
MakeRoom would like to express our thanks to Minister for Housing Michael Finneran, his department officials and all those TDs who supported MakeRoom's campaign to put homelessness into the heart of the Housing Bill.
We would also like to thank all those concerned citizens who took the time to lobby their local TDs in support of our call for the inclusion of the homeless amendments into the Bill.
The purpose of these amendments is to underpin the Government's new Homeless Strategy, The Way Home, and the commitments its contains to end the need to sleep rough and long term homelessness by 2010, with a statutory requirement for all local authorities to establish homeless fora and to produce local homeless action plans.
The amendments also detail the importance of multi-agency and sector partnership within these fora, providing for input from statutory and voluntary agencies.
While we welcome the passing of this important piece of legislation, MakeRoom still believes that a number of opportunities were lost in that the Bill does not include a right to housing, a new legal definition of homelessness or a greater level of standardisation in housing needs assessments and local authority allocation schemes. These are areas that the MakeRoom alliance will continue to lobby on in the future.
MakeRoom firmly believes that through a real partnership, the statutory and voluntary sectors can achieve our shared goals of ending rough sleeping and long term homelessness by 2010. These amendments when passed into law will provide local authorities with a powerful tool in realising this vision, and MakeRoom member organisations look forward to working with the local authorities in making that happen." ENDS