McVerry Trust broadly welcomes budget
The national housing and homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust has given a broad welcome to Budget 2023. The charity welcomed initiatives across a number of key areas which it says will have a positive impact on the people it works with and its efforts to tackle homelessness and provide more social housing pathways.
According to Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, the budget has introduced a wide range of measures which will help lessen the pressure that people on the margins and people that are tenants of approved housing bodies find themselves under.
“The most significant of these measures is the energy credit of €600 over the coming months with additional funding of €400 per person in receipt of the fuel allowance,” says Pat Doyle, adding that these measures will ensure that “vulnerable people living alone, which includes thousands of people who have previously been and those now at risk of homelessness, will be better able to afford the cost of heating their home this winter.”
The charity has also welcomed the Increased funding for homeless and social housing and the fact that both Minister Donohoe and Minister McGrath have recognised the importance of and the challenges that remain in the area of housing in their contributions today.”
“I strongly welcome the record level of €1.7billion for social housing new builds and the 10% increase in the homeless budget to €215million for homeless services and Housing First next year,” says Pat Doyle who notes that the funding ensures more social housing delivery by local authorities and approved housing bodies. He says that the increase in the homeless budget will allow Peter McVerry Trust and other NGOs to support and work with the DRHE and local authorities to provide additional and essential homeless services.
“I also welcome the increased funding for retrofitting of social housing stock, this is a vital measure to help people spend less on heating their homes and upgrading some of the older social housing stock.”
Pat Doyle also welcomed the Vacant Homes Tax which the Trust proposed to the Government in 2017 and engaged with and worked with Ministers for Housing since then to secure its introduction. “We are delighted to see it now being implemented specifically to stimulate greater re-use of vacant homes as a means of delivering sustainable housing across all tenure types and enabling us to deliver more homes for key programmes such as Housing First.”
The Peter McVerry Trust also welcomed increased resources for the education system to work towards smaller class sizes and greater classroom supports for students noting that smaller school classes will lead to better outcomes for students, and will provide more opportunities for teachers to work with students who may need additional supports and who may not get the support they require in larger classes.
“Investment in education has been a constant and central message we have given to politicians in recent years as long-term preventative measure in reducing people becoming at risk, or experiencing, homelessness and we are delighted to see a clear downward trajectory in class sizes.,” says Pat Doyle.
He also said he was “glad to see measures being introduced to provide additional supports for Section 39 organisations and also to help offset rising energy costs at a time of unprecedented price increases”