The housing crisis is one of the defining political challenges of our time. In recent times it has led to over 10,000 people including close to 4,000 children living in persistent homelessness, and the Civil Engagement Group have been campaigning on this issue since the first days of the current Seanad.
The Group’s very first motion proposed, and adopted unanimously by the whole House concerned the particular issue of housing for people with disabilities. The Group has continued to exert pressure on the Government to address the particular needs of people with disabilities on an all-of-government basis time after time, and housing is no exception.
Another specific area within the housing issue is the chronic lack of suitable and quality housing for members of the Traveller community. The Group has raised this issue time and again, leading to hearings in the Seanad and in the Committee rooms, and to the creation of the Special Joint Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveller Community.
Since then, the group has proposed constructive legislation to help address the crisis, proposed amendments to government legislation and held the Ministers for Housing to account on their activities in working on housing provision, and advocated on behalf of experts and civil society organisations working in homelessness and housing provision both in the Seanad, in the media and through active participation in the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government.
The Group believe that the government has begun using the constitution as an excuse to not introduce real housing reform, and will continue actively and loudly campaigning on housing and homelessness until government policy begins to show progress.