Traveler accommodation a ‘humanitarian crisis’ with one in 10 homeless, TDs say
Traveler accommodation is a “humanitarian crisis”, said TDs and senators.
avee Point told the Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues Affecting the Traveler Community that the lack of suitable accommodation is having a “significant impact” on the health and life expectancy of travelers.
“The current traveler accommodation situation represents a humanitarian crisis in this country,” said Mr. Collins of Pavee Point.
He said that with one in 10 travelers “effectively homeless”, the limited ability to comply with Covid-19 public health guidelines in most traveler accommodation, particularly with regard to social distancing and self-isolation, has meant that the pandemic has “shone a light on the vulnerability of Travelers”.
He said local authorities must provide “adequate and culturally appropriate” accommodation for Travelers.
There are “thousands” of hidden homeless families caused by “grossly inadequate and overcrowded housing,” according to Rose Marie Maughan of the Irish Traveler Movement.
She said some families shared bays, dilapidated houses or caravans.
“Many wake up with leaky roofs, rats, chronic humidity and mold, some forced to share a Portaloo with 15 other people. It is their normal, forced state of life, ”she told the committee.
She said 2,800 travelers live on unofficial sites, most of which lack electricity and stable sanitation facilities, and that these families are at risk of being evicted.
“Babies are born in situations that in any other country would be described as a disaster area, where some with chronic health conditions cannot access a stable power supply to support their medical equipment,” she said. declared.
Mr Collins also told the committee that there are “high levels of discrimination against Travelers in accessing accommodation, particularly in the private rental sector”.
Lack of adequate housing means that Travelers do not have ‘equal access to and participation in education and employment’, which means poor outcomes especially for children, women , people with disabilities and older travelers.
The National Traveler Women’s Forum told the committee that there is a Traveler housing crisis as well as a housing crisis in Ireland.
Representatives said that “the lack of long-term housing” has meant that community members have been pressured into “sharing overcrowded, unauthorized housing and sites.”
They also said living in “overcrowded” accommodation meant that the women on the trip did not have access to running water, which made it “difficult to adhere to hand hygiene guidelines and social distancing in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus ”.