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International News Archive
July 29 - July 31, 2001


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This page contains news for the period July 29 through July 31, 2001.



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Tuesday, July 30, 2001

Ireland's single parent families misrepresented on housing lists

A story published today by the Irish Independent reports that according to the National Economic and Social Forum study, Ireland's single parent families are being trapped on local authority housing lists and are now disproportionately represented among the homeless.

In some areas, up to 40 percent of the accommodation waiting list and those seeking emergency beds on a night-by-night basis are lone parents, the report has found.

Accommodation has become the single greatest issue of concern for single parent families, replacing child care, according to Frances Byrne, Manager of OPEN (One Parent Exchange Network).

Fine Gael's Simon Coveney, another panel member, said lone parents families found it very difficult to compete for housing against other families.

"In most cases, a family where there are two parents and children will get a house before the lone parent family will," he said.

Mr. Coveney said he is arguing strongly for appropriate housing to be made available by local authorities to reflect the demand. "The type of housing that suits lone parents may be different from that which suits other families," he said.

Mr. Coveney said that in many cases, lone parents were "hidden homeless" as they found beds in the homes of grandparents or other relatives.

The Fine Gael Deputy said he hoped the report would also result in changes to rules surrounding the payment of lone parent's allowance which effectively inhibit such people from developing relationships.

Once a single parent - and the vast majority of them are women - allows a partner to move into the house, they are in danger of losing the payment, he said.

Byrne agreed that single parents often felt that the state was more interested in ensuring they did not have a partner than in providing the supports they needed to access work, education or training.


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