Tuesday 21 February 2017

Over 1,500 children will spend this Christmas in emergency accommodation

Published 17/12/2015 | 10:15

STRUGGLE: Niamh Randall has warned of massive crisis
STRUGGLE: Niamh Randall has warned of massive crisis
The economic crash had a detrimental effect on the mental health and anxiety levels in the nation’s children. Picture posed

Over 1,500 children will spend this Christmas in temporary accommodation, according to Simon Communities.

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The homeless charity said that there has been a 20pc increase in people looking for help from their services.

The economic crash had a detrimental effect on the mental health and anxiety levels in the nation’s children. Picture posed
The economic crash had a detrimental effect on the mental health and anxiety levels in the nation’s children. Picture posed

Almost 7,500 people are experiencing homelessness across the country.

National spokesperson Niamh Randall said that 2015 had been an “unprecedented year” in terms of the scale of the housing and homeless crisis. 

“Looking back on this year, we can see clearly that the homeless and housing crisis has continued largely unchecked,” Ms Randall said.

“The numbers in emergency accommodation have continued to rise to over 5,000 men, women and children, nearly double what they were this time last year.”

The research from the Simon Communities found that there are currently 738 families with 1,571 children, and 2,448 single people in emergency accommodation.

During one night in November 2015, there were 142 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City. This included 91 people sleeping rough and 51 people sheltering at the Nite Cafe. 

Ms Randall noted that quarterly data from DAFT.ie and the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) demonstrates that rents are continuing to rise while the number of properties available is decreasing. She said that high rents and rising house prices are a threat to the economy and there is a desperate need for social housing.

“We heard repeated calls from the National Economic and Social Council for rent regulation and tenancy security,” she said.

Rising

“We in the Simon Communities saw the devastating impact each and every day this year across the country. 

“The impact on men, women and children trying to live their lives in really difficult situations.

“Growing numbers of people are stuck in emergency accommodation trying to go about daily in the one tiny space.

“The trauma of this and the stress for those sharing dormitory style accommodation or the guarantee of a bed for only one night can have a long lasting impact.”

Over 2,300 volunteers supported the work of their local Simon Community but Ms Randall said that it will take more than promises from one Government department to address the growing problem of homelessness in the country.

“We are dealing with a system that is broken and incapable of responding appropriately as it is currently constructed,” she said.

“This was a year where we heard a lot of commitments about the housing and houseless crisis but we did not see enough action.

“The much promised social housing is not materialising, to date in 2015 house builds and acquisitions reported by the Department of Environment are 403. Meanwhile, there is a minimum of 90,000 on the social housing waiting list.

“There are long delays that are difficult to understand given the extent of the crisis. The Rent Stability measures, which are welcome, still fall short of full rent certainty, leaving tenants in the private rental sector vulnerable.

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