herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

One in four worry about homeless risk

Niamh Randall
Niamh Randall

One in four people say they are worried about the risk of becoming homeless because of difficulties in fulfilling payments or mortgages.

The figures were reported by Simon Communities in Ireland which said it is seeing the effects of the homelessness crisis nationwide, including an increase in "rough sleeping".

"The Government say they want to end long-term homelessness and rough sleeping by 2016," said Niamh Randall, the organisation's spokesperson.

"But if we don't move quickly and wisely, it will mean more people facing a brutal winter on our streets, more people sleeping in cars, more pressure on over-run shelters and more people on the housing list.

"There are nearly 90,000 households already on the social housing waiting list. Private rents are increasing rapidly and this is forcing both individuals and families into homelessness," she added.

Ms Randall said that rent supplement entitlements are just too low to match the commercial rents being sought and many landlords won't accept rent supplement payments.

"Compounding this is the reduction in the number of properties available to rent nationwide, which dropped by 40pc in August this year when compared to the same period last year.

"It is unacceptable that people would have to sleep out on the streets or remain in emergency accommodation for far too long," she added.

The homelessness charity said that it was seeing the effects of the crisis all around the country.

In Cork, rough sleeping increased by 134pc in the year to August this year.

Meanwhile, in the north west of the country, tenancy sustainment services worked with more people in the first six months of 2014 than in the whole of last year.

Fear

The charity has now launched their national advocacy campaign "Stand and Deliver."

The campaign asks the public for their support in asking the Government to deliver on its promise to end long term homelessness by 2016.

The charity has collected 3,000 signatures already for a letter to the Cabinet on the issue, and said the numbers keep on rising.

fdillon@herald.ie

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