It’s not just the record number of street sleepers, 184 at the last count, deeply shocking as it is.
It is not just the 8,500 plus in emergency accommodation including more than 3000 children, appalling as that is.
It is also the knock on effects of the shortage in affordable houses and the soaring rents which are destroying families and individual lives across the state.
It’s the terrible fear of eviction haunting so many. It’s being forced to live in the parental home far into adulthood. It’s the devastating effect of half your income going on rent or mortgage.
This is a crisis for everyone in Ireland who can’t go to the bank of mum and dad for a €30,000 deposit.
Time and again we have called on the Government to declare a national housing emergency.
Time and again they have refused. Time and again we have demanded a massive programme of public and affordable housing.
Time and again the Government have fallen back on ‘the market’ and ‘incentives’ for their developer and landlord friends.
This will make things worse not better. Now is the time for ‘feet on the street’.
The National Homeless and Housing Coalition is calling a mass demonstration on Saturday 7 April.
It is backed by the Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland, Merchants Quay Ireland, political parties, trade unions and independent activists, actors and musicians.
Councillor Tina MacVeigh said ‘the Coalition is declaring their vote of no confidence in the housing policies of this government’, and Peter McVerry urged the public to get involved and voice their anger.
“It is time to come out in great numbers,” said Aisling Hedderman of the Dublin Bay North Housing Crisis group.
A ‘Let’s Organise Our Communities’ event will take place on Saturday 10 February for people who wish to get involved.
The national day of protest will take place on Saturday 7 April.
See also The Homeless Speak Out on pages 4-5.