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Ireland will allow the homeless to vote, specifically to condemn Europe's housing crisis

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In Ireland, associations provide addresses for homeless people to vote and register to vote. A way to put the topic of the housing crisis at the center of the discussion. Across Europe, a lack of housing and tourist rentals is forcing residents onto the streets.

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In Europe, around 900,000 people are now homeless and 19 million are forced to live in unsanitary conditions.  Illustration photo (Thomas Johannaud / MaxPPP)

Like all other members of the European Union, Ireland is not immune to the housing crisis. The number of homeless people there has quadrupled in 10 years, and until now, as in most European countries, they are banned from voting. For the first time in Ireland, homeless people will be allowed to vote in the European elections on 7 June 2024.

Until then, it was impossible for these homeless Irish to have their voices heard. But that all changed in 2022, thanks to electoral reform that allowed charities to address. As in many countries, address is a “sine qua non” condition for registration on an electoral roll. Without an address, you lose part of one of your fundamental rights as a citizen. So Ireland righted this injustice and the country's 20,000 homeless people will be able to vote on June 7, 2024.

But when you're sleeping on the street or in your car, voting isn't a priority. For this reason, for months, support associations like Mike Allen have been campaigning to encourage Irish homeless people to register on a list: “The mailbox system is perfect for this. They can put their name in the address of a local box. There they can get everything they need, from their voter card to voting at the nearest office.”

This campaign to encourage voting doesn't just target the homeless. Associations also encourage 70,000 people to be hosted in emergency houses or social houses, mainly in Dublin. This approach aims to put the housing crisis at the center of the political debate and to denounce the overall lack of political response to what Irish people today see as a major emergency that needs to be addressed.

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It is in Dublin, the third most expensive city in Europe. But in Brussels, Paris, Zagreb, Lisbon, Prague or Budapest, the observation is the same for the same reasons: unaffordable rent, accommodation primarily rented out to tourist agencies for short periods, and dizzying fallout construction. There are 25% fewer homes on average than last year, while around 900,000 people are now homeless and 19 million are forced to live in unsanitary conditions across the EU.

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