Two Irish charities focused on homelessness have come under fire by a representative of the Labour party for not doing enough to combat homelessness. The charities have responded that they aren’t surprised that the TD (an Irish member of the lower house of parliament) would choose to attack them instead of attacking the problem of homelessness itself.
According to Joanna Tuffy, the charities in question, Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust, should be borrowing money from the Housing and Finance Agency in order to build or purchase homes to house people. The two charities already receive about 60% of their funds from the government, and Tuffy maintains that for this reason, they should be taking loans from the government.
The charities responded that it’s easier and cheaper for them to get loans from commercial banks for their projects, which seems to be the basis of their not being surprised at the criticism. In short, the government isn’t willing to do the work of making money available to help homeless people, but wants to criticize the charities that do help those people.
Tuffy replied that she wasn’t criticizing the charities for the work they do but wanted to start asking questions about publically-funded organizations that have a duty to be transparent about their expenditures. In defense of the McVerry Trust, they have applied for a loan form the Housing and Finance Agency, but they’re still waiting on the lengthy process to acquire those funds. In the meantime, an estimated 5,000 people are homeless at any given time in Ireland, while only 556 families, including 1,185 children, are living in emergency housing in Dublin at the moment.
Perhaps now that everyone knows why the charities aren’t borrowing money from the government, the government can find some way to fix the situation.