Home Sweet Home launched a Super Action in December, in response to the homelessness crisis in Ireland. Members across the IHN have been offering support, in an attempt to focus attention upon the welfare of homeless people and meet their basic needs. Homelessness across the UK has ballooned under the Conservative government, with homeless people dying on our streets, as well as being humiliated and excluded. Here is the SWAN Ireland statement:
“We believe the actions of homeless people, activists and volunteers in occupying and running Apollo House are a valuable and necessary contribution to providing homes for homeless people while also forcing the government to address the issue of homelessness and the broader housing emergency. Apollo House has become a symbol of people power, a space of dignity and justice and we stand with them in solidarity.
Swan Ireland supports the Irish Housing Network’s (IHN) campaign to recognise the importance of safe, affordable, secure and culturally-appropriate housing, a home, as a human right. As social workers and social care workers, we see first-hand how the brutal cuts to services over the past nine years have impacted on the lives of thousands of people in Irish society and placed them at increased risk of homelessness. We see in particular the effects on; lone parent families; young people leaving care; people with disabilities; people with mental health difficulties; people with addictions; members of the travelling community and people seeking asylum, to name but a few.
In Issue 3 of SWAN Ireland’s online bulletin Frontline, a number of contributors offered specific evidence of the numerous challenges faced by such groups when trying to access the resources needed to obtain a home, including; lack of access to sufficient income, gender inequality, carelessness of the state, and institutional racism. In our work on the frontline with users of social services, we see how the already marginalised position of many individuals within these groups places them at further disadvantages when accessing accommodation because they do not have access to the range of resources needed to obtain safe, secure, affordable and appropriate housing. As a result of this, they experience increased levels of injustice and powerlessness which have devastating effects on their health, well-being, and self-worth and on their lives and their family’s lives also.
SWAN Ireland view a home as an essential aspect of equality; one which influences the nature of relationships that people have with themselves and with other members in Irish society. A home not only offers someone a place of safety and security, it offers people a safe place where they can produce relations of love and care, which are fundamental to our health and well-being as relational and interdependent beings. Homelessness therefore represents an affective injustice because people who are homeless are prevented from accessing the resources needed to support the giving and receiving of love and care. This injustice furthers their sense of loneliness, loss of self-worth and loss of dignity as human beings.
Given the fundamental role that a home plays in people’s lives, SWAN Ireland is deeply concerned about the lack of appropriate action taken by the government to deal effectively with the increasing numbers of homeless individuals and families (Hearne 2017).This inaction undermines the commitments made by government across a broad range of policy areas, including children and families, housing and homelessness and social inclusion. Instead it exacerbates the conditions that people with low levels of resources are living in, resulting in their unequal, inhumane and degrading treatment. Such treatment directly contravenes the ethical codes and value base that underpin the work of social work and social care professionals.
It is for the reasons outlined above that we support all of the demands put forward by the Home Sweet Home campaign.”
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