Nearly two hundred people including campaigners, union representatives, politicians and members the public attended a major ‘Raise the Roof’ conference in the CWU Centre in Dublin on Wednesday (30thJanuary). The focus of the event was the plight of homeless families and children living in hotel rooms and temporary accommodation. A panel of experts including urban design architect Mel Reynolds, Brendan Kenny of Dublin City Council, Tanya Ward of the Children's Rights Alliance, and Síona Cahill of the Union of Students of Ireland addressed the conference supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Congress General Secretary Patricia King, in her opening remarks, said there are close to 10,000 people homeless many thousands of them children. In her speech she said: "We grow accustomed to families living in cars and tents, to children being raised in hotel rooms, to lives being wasted and life chances destroyed. We must guard against this danger and guard against those who would attempt to portray the crisis as intractable. That is a lie.” Patricia King also said: "The housing emergency is neither a natural disaster, nor an act of God.  It has been made entirely by human hands and can be resolved and ended the same way". The General Secretary said the Congress Charter for Housing rights set out the principle that there should be a "legal right to housing" and that the situation was a national housing emergency that demanded a major public housing construction programme.