The abject shortage of housing for Travellers is what’s forcing many to live by the side of the road.
In the wake of criticism of some Travellers who parked recently at Millbank in Sallins and off the ring roads circling Naas, Kildare Traveller Action has called for urgent measures to address the “accommodation crisis.”
Referring to legal action taken by Kildare County Council following the arrival of caravans at Sallins and Naas, Mr. PJ Dooley of KTA said: ”The authorities are more intent on deploying resources to evict families from roadside encampments instead of putting these resources into providing accommodation.”
Travellers, he said, are one of the low income groups being badly affected by the current housing crisis . An increasing number of Traveller families are being forced out of the private rented sector due to rising rents, landlords not renewing leases because they no longer want to take tenants on rent supplement or in some cases landlords selling the house.
He cited the case of one Naas-based family who are facing homelessness because the lease won’t be renewed and they need a specially adapted home because a family member has a severe physical disability.“There is something very ironic about a county council whose role is social housing provider, evicting people who have nowhere else to go. And the reason they have nowhere to go is because the council has not met its responsibilities to provide them with accommodation in the first place,” said Mr. Dooley. In a submission to the draft Traveller Accommodation Programme 2014-2018, KAT called for urgent measures including emergency sites for roadside families, lobbying for more money for social housing and a greater allocation under the Social Leasing Initiative.