In light of the CSO report on Enforced Deprivation published last week, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SVP) has called for urgent action by the Government to prevent more children falling deeper into poverty and a rise in homelessness. SVP acknowledged that while Covid-19 remains a major challenge, the issue of enforced deprivation must be top of the national agenda as the Dáil resumes from summer recess.
Doctor Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice, said, “The data confirms the experience of SVP members who have seen housing costs as a key driver of poverty and financial hardship in recent years. Individuals and families living in the private rented sector often have to cut back on basics like food and heating to keep a roof over their head.”
The CSO data indicates almost 900,000 people were going without basics prior to the pandemic – an increase of over 140,000 from the previous year. Over one in five children are now experiencing enforced deprivation, which means going without basics like nutritious food, adequate heating or suitable clothing. One parent families, who have been disproportionately impacted by the socio-economic consequences of Covid-19, continue to experience the highest rates of enforced deprivation (45.4%). Concerning the living conditions of those in the private rented sector, the rate of deprivation increased from 27.4% in 2018 to 34.4% in 2019. A very high proportion of people unable to work due to permanent illness or disability also suffer from enforced deprivation (43.3%).
Doctor Keilthy continued, “The fact that almost half of lone parents were experiencing enforced deprivation prior to the pandemic is very concerning. Due to school and childcare closures many parents have had to give up work to care for their children and many are now at risk of long-term unemployment. While the pandemic is ongoing, families need access to adequate income supports to prevent a deepening of child poverty and a rise in family homelessness.
“The CSO figures are for 2019. Taking the effects of Covid-19 into account the 2020 poverty figures are likely to deteriorate even further unless urgent action is taken across Government departments.”