HOUSING AND ACCOMMODATION
Working to influence Donegal County Council and Government Departments to provide accessible, culturally appropriate, high standard Traveller and Roma accommodation/housing based on the needs of the community. DTP supports nomadism and provides a wide range of information, advice and support to Travellers and Roma regarding accommodation.
- 25 % of Travellers live in poor accommodation (Fundamental Rights Agency 2020).
- Just 10 % of the Traveller population travelled in 2020 compared with 33 % in 2000.
- 90 % of Travellers surveyed stated there is not enough halting sites (Fundamental Rights Agency 2000).
- In 2019, a report from an independent review group established by the Irish Government stated that the legislation in relation to the provision of Traveller accommodation must be “overhauled”, in order to address “overcrowding” and “extremely high rates of Traveller homelessness”. The Report criticised the absence of protections in Irish law for Traveller families faced with evictions. (FLAC)
- The All – Ireland Traveller Health Study found that more Irish Travellers live in a house (73%) than in a caravan or mobile home (18%). Census 2011 found that 85% of Travellers were living in standard accommodation with only 12% in caravans or mobile homes; however, Travellers are much less likely than the general population to own their own home (20% v 70%) while four times as many Traveller families live in only one room.
- In July 2018 the Minister for Housing and Urban Development directed housing authorities to prepare and adopt a 5-year Traveller Accommodation Programme covering the period 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2024 in accordance with the provisions of the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998.
- Of €18m allocated for Traveller housing in 2022, just €6.2m has been drawn down, according to the Department of Housing.
- In its decision in ERRC v Ireland, the European Committee on Social Rights found that Ireland violated the Charter by failing to provide safe and adequate accommodation to Travellers. They also found that certain legislation violated Article 16 of the Charter by failing to provide adequate safeguards for Travellers threatened with eviction. (FLAC)
- The recent Roma in Ireland: National Needs Assessment report identified the impact of European Directive 2004/38 (on the freedom of movement and residence) and the Habitual Residence Condition as key factors in many Roma not being entitled to housing and other supports. (FLAC)
- Roma face significant difficulties satisfying the HRC due to lack of documentation, proof of address and language and literacy skills. FLAC is concerned that the application of the Habitual Residence Condition by the Department of Social Protection is having a disproportionate negative impact on Roma, which is not necessarily dictated by EU law. (FLAC)
- The National Roma Needs Assessment (2018) shows that 20% of Roma are being left without ongoing financial support (including child benefit), social housing supports (including homeless supports) and employment training supports, such as community employment. As a result some Roma are experiencing severe hardship.
- Lack of delivery of Traveller-specific accommodation coupled with the lack of provision of affordable housing and over-reliance on the private sector is pushing Traveller and Roma families into homelessness.
- DTP works to deliver a human rights approach to meet the collective and individual accommodation needs of the Traveller and Roma communities in Donegal.
- DTP works to ensure the full implementation of Donegal County Council’s Traveller Accommodation Programme 2019-2024 particularly in the areas of emergency needs and Social Housing.
- We advocate and support self-advocacy for families in crisis and document emerging issues that impact on the Traveller community, such as homelessness.
- We work with and participate on the Local Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee to address Traveller and Roma accommodation issues and policy at a local level including institutional racism and supporting nomadism.
- DTP works with dozens of families across the county on a weekly basis, from our offices in Ballyshannon and Letterkenny and through home visits.
- We support families living in conditions which impact negatively on health and wellbeing and take positive action to address accommodation issues using a community work approach.
- We provide one to one support for individual members of the Traveller and Roma communities experiencing homelessness.
- Accommodation workers at DTP provide robust supports for members of the Traveller and Roma communities, working with members of the communities on every step of the process to secure accommodation, from filling out the necessary forms, to advocating or representing with landlords, to working with members of the community in their dealings with banks and local authorities.
- DTP provides support for people seeking Housing Assistance Payment supports and works with members of the community to build their self-esteem and capacity to represent themselves with the local authority and other organisations and institutions.
- A big part of DTP’s work is also to secure services for the homeless community and to advocate for them. DTP accommodation workers also help to identify suitable accommodation for people with addiction or mental health issues.