HOMELESSNESS IN IRELAND
What is Homelessness
The Housing Act 1988 defines a homeless person as somebody who has no reasonable accommodation to live in or lives in a hospital, institution or night shelter because of a lack of home.
Human Dignity Issue
Shelter is a basic human need, yet throughout the word there a people looking for a place to live with dignity. Being homeless is more than just not having a roof over your head – it usually means that a person’s security and belongings needs are also not met. You can become homeless for many different reasons. These could include: * Being evicted
* Losing your job
* Health problems
* A disaster such as fire or flooding
In 2009 there were up to 4,000 people reported to be homeless. 800 of them were children and two hundred of these children were under the age of 12.
Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, designed a pyramid to explain the basic needs required to protect human dignity. In this pyramid he not only names shelter as a basic human need but also names the need for security. Security needs include the need to be safe and protected when if homeless, is broken. To protect human dignity the local authorities have to take action.
Duties of Local Authorities towards Homeless People
While the 1988 Act does not impose a duty on housing authorities to provide housing to people who are homeless, it does clearly give responsibility to the local authorities to consider the needs of homeless people and expands their powers to respond to those needs. For example authorities may house homeless people from their own housing stock or through arrangement with a voluntary body. (Simon Community, St Vincent de Paul) The Act also enables the local authority to provide a...
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