Covid-19:

Irish housing minister Eoghan Murphy has said that landlords should show “forbearance” during the Covid-19 outbreak, adding that the Irish Government would provide support to homeless services during the crisis.

Mr Murphy has said that he is “trying to identify ways to protect renters” during the emergency and is asking private landlords to show “forbearance” when dealing with tenants who are struggling to pay their rent due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement Friday evening a spokesperson for the Irish Department of Housing said that Mr Murphy was working with other departments across Government, as well as industry leaders and regulators, to explore what action “can be taken to protect tenants who may be impacted either through a requirement for self-isolation, a confirmed medical diagnosis or a reduction in working hours”.

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In the Republic, schools, colleges and various public buildings are closed until at least 29 March, and consequently there are concerns that private businesses will suffer, with some sectors of the economy being hit very hard in the weeks to come.

As numbers of confirmed cases rise, the Government is particularly concerned about how Covid-19 is going to affect the homeless in Ireland.

Mike Allen from Focus Ireland told TheJournal.ie earlier last week:

“We were in crisis before this came along,” and although the homeless services and charities have taken steps to help homeless people, to try to prevent any spread of the virus through hostels and family hubs, this is not an easy task.

Mr Murphy added that he would ensure that “all necessary supports and measures” would be provided to ensure local authorities and housing organisations can work through the crisis.

He also said that he had spoken to all four Dublin local authorities and was “confident that the local authorities and NGOs are taking the necessary steps to deal with this challenge”.

One of the major challenges for all homeless people and many parts of the vulnerable population, many of whom suffer from health problems, is their inability to self-isolate. They often share rooms in emergency accommodation, cramped hotel rooms, and homes for multi-family and singles HMOs accommodation.

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