herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Crisis as number of people after council housing nears 20,000

The number of people who have applied to Dublin City Council for housing is set to cross the 20,000 level in the coming weeks.

This represents a jump of 3,000 people this year alone.

The number of applications to the council now stands at 19,327 compared with just over 16,000 in 2013.

And figures show the area worst affected is the northside of the city.

More than a third of applicants are currently living in overcrowded conditions or have particular medical needs that require a different type of accommodation.

homeless

In addition to the main waiting list, 5,645 tenants are already living in social housing but are seeking to transfer; a quarter of these are living in overcrowded conditions.

More than 1,000 of these applicants are now homeless as the winter arrives, and the situation has been termed a "full-blown crisis" by the city's Lord Mayor Christy Burke.

The Dublin Simon Community has said there is "no political will" to solve the growing problem which they say is "spiralling out of control".

"The explosion in homelessness has already happened. I've never seen it this bad," said Sam McGuinness, chief executive of the charity.

It is now estimated that housing families in hotel accommodation could cost Dublin City Council up to €4m by the end of this year, and the Dublin Simon Community thinks much of that money could be better invested in long-term solutions rather than expensive short-term ones.

slow

Figures show that around half of those now living in emergency accommodation have been there for longer than six months.

A recent early morning count found 158 people sleeping rough on the streets of the capital.

"Better solutions for those who are sleeping rough and those who are locked out of the private rental market need to be considered," said Mr McGuinness.

"The political will isn't there - the response is too late, too long and too slow," he added.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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