Need for increased awareness of homelessness problem – Buttimer

Thursday, 16th October 2014

  • Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises awareness of the increasing problem of homelessness.
  • Charity sleep out takes place on Friday 17th October 2014 

Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - logo 2014Over recent years housing and social difficulties have led to a visible increase in the numbers of people who are homeless.  It is important that as a society we are aware of this problem, that we understand the underlying causes of homelessness and that we take steps to provide viable alternatives.  Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises important awareness of this increasing problem and I am delighted to be able to take part in this year’s event.

For many of us our impression of homelessness is of people sleeping rough in doorways and on the streets. However, this is only part of a much greater issue. There are families, single men, single women living in unsuitable, insecure and temporary accommodation all over Ireland. It is frightening to think that one in seven accessing a homeless service is a child. Tonight’s event is an opportunity for those of us taking part to highlight these issues and to contribute to the fundraising efforts of Focus Ireland.

I was very pleased this week when additional funding to help tackle homelessness was provided as part of Budget 2015.  An additional €10.5 million will be provided for accommodation and related services for homeless people.  This brings the annual spend on tackling homelessness to €55.5 million in 2015.  The strong commitment by Government to developing social housing will help to ensure the availability of essential and sustainable long-term housing options that can help tackle homelessness.

 

Focus Ireland Shine a Light Night - Etag final

Posted under Cork, Environment, National Work, Social Protection

Buttimer welcomes Minister’s decision on funding under SSNO scheme

Friday, July 18th 2014

  • Minister for the Environment restores funding to a number of health, disability and other organisations following review of the SSNO scheme

A number of organisations which provide great work were left not just extremely disappointed, but facing closure, after they failed to secure funding under the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO).

I expressed concern about the impact of this on the groups involved on a number of occasions over the last few weeks. Many of these groups only get a small amount of funding from the Government, but it is absolutely vital for their survival. And without their good work, minority groups would suffer.

Minister Kelly has now decided to restore funding to groups which had previously received monies under the scheme, and which submitted valid applications this year. Bridging finance totalling just under €1.3 million for a 12 month period is being approved to avoid a sudden and adverse impact on these organisations.

A review will now be undertaken to ensure public money is being well spent and that there is no unnecessary duplication. While we must ensure efficiency and transparency, we must also not lose sight of humanity in the process. Small groups such as those funded under the SSNO scheme provide fantastic support, and I am glad that they can now plan ahead for the next twelve months with certainty.

Posted under Children & Youth Affairs, Environment, Health, National Work

Cork allocated almost €2.8m in funding to turn 179 vacant units into homes – Buttimer

Tuesday, 8th July 2014

  • €2.8 million to renovate vacant units across Cork City and County will create homes for 179 families.
  • Cork City Council is to be allocated more than €1.5 million in Government funding to turn 92 vacant units across the city into homes
  • Cork County Council is to receive almost €1.2 million to refurbish 87 housing units.
  • Nationally €15 million has been allocated nationally to bring 1,008 vacant local authority units into use. 

Refurbishing vacant houses so that they can again be used as homes is fundamental to meeting demands for social housing. In recent years a high number of local authority homes in Cork have been left vacant and boarded up, which is a complete waste. This funding will help turn vacant units back into homes for 179 families.

The Government is allocating €1,585,000 to Cork City Council, which will allow work to be carried out on 92 vacant properties, so they can be brought back into use. Cork County Council will receive €1,181,000 which will turn 87 vacant units into homes.

Less than three months ago the Government announced €1,280,000 to help City Council renovate 94 houses.  At that time almost €1 million was allocated to Cork County Council to refurbish 68 units.  This represents significant investment to help tackle the housing waiting lists.

It has been reported that there were 520 vacant units across Cork City, taking both rounds of funding into account, funding has been provided to renovate 186 units.  This will return 35% of all vacant units back into family homes.

So far this year, €30 million has been invested nationally on the refurbishment of vacant local authority houses. This programme will increase our social housing supply quickly and I hope that both City and County Councils can use this funding as soon as possible to deliver homes for 341 families.

Not only will this funding provide homes for families it will also create much needed jobs.  I am pleased that Councils are being encouraged to use community based organisations who recruit, train and engage long-term unemployed people for the refurbishment programme.

Posted under Carrigaline, Cork, Cork City, Douglas, Environment