Monday 5 December 2016

Busiest year on record for homeless charity as emergency accommodation use soars by almost 90pc

Published 30/08/2016 | 14:37

The homeless charity reports that 2015 was its busiest year on record
The homeless charity reports that 2015 was its busiest year on record

The numbers of people using emergency accommodation provided by the Peter McVerry Trust soared by 88pc last year.

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The homeless charity reports that 2015 was its busiest year on record with an 89pc increase in the number of people demanding its services overall.

Back in 2014, Father Peter McVerry stated that he had "never seen the situation as bad as it is today...in over 35 years of working with homeless people".

However, the charity's founder stated in the 2015 report that he "spoke too soon" as last year was "much worse".

Aside from homelessness, drug use, family breakdowns and mental health were cited as the main issues facing users of the charity.

The charity helped a total of 4,705 people, with the average client being 31 years of age – the majority of them having a past or present problem with drug abuse.

The Peter McVerry Trust are now calling on the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, to take a more robust approach to the issues of vacant private housing and soaring rents.

CEO of the Trust, Pat Doyle says: “Unless measures are brought forward to tackle the root cause of accommodation costs and restrains price rises there will be widespread and long lasting consequences for both the economy and wider society.”

It follows the release of figures from the Department of Environment yesterday showing there were 6,525 people in emergency accommodation in July, a year-on-year increase of 40pc.

These numbers mark the first time that more than 6,500 people were in emergency accommodation, Simon Communities said in a statement.

Their spokeswoman Niamh Randall has called on the Government to implement its action plan for housing and homelessness, Rebuilding Ireland.

The plan aims to accelerate social housing, build more homes and improve the rental sector.

"Our primary focus is the prevention of homelessness. Rebuilding Ireland will be the start of that," Ms Randall told independent.ie.

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