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Waiting list expected to hit 130,000 as families struggle with crisis

New figures reveal that tens of thousands more struggling families are getting caught up in a social housing crisis that is dramatically worsening.

Local authorities across the country have seen their waiting lists swell by an average of 23pc in the past year alone.

The total number of applicants on housing lists across the country now stands at more than 120,000 -- up from 78,000 in 2008 -- and the spiralling figures recorded since the economic crisis hit show no sign of stopping.

The massive increase in the number of people on council housing waiting lists comes despite 2,700 ghost estates being dotted across the State.

However, the Department of the Environment has said that many of these estates would not be suitable for social housing, as they are in inappropriate locations and far from essential services.

The crisis escalated further last year as struggling families falling behind on their rents, people getting into difficulties with their mortgages, the unemployed and those refused credit from the banks looked to their relevant councils for homes.

City councils are seeing a huge increase in waiting-list numbers, with Dublin City Council reporting a jump of almost 200pc -- up from 6,108 this time last year to 17,870 now.

Other badly hit areas include:

  • South Tipperary County Council: up 219pc.
  • Kilkenny County Council: up 50pc.
  • Galway City: up 45pc.
  • Waterford City: up 30pc.

However, there have been significant drops for Kerry County Council, Longford County Council and Clonmel Town Council.

Last year, when a similar survey was carried out by this newspaper, it was discovered that just under 100,000 applicants were on lists across the country.

That itself was an increase of 35pc on the 2008 figure, when there were 78,000 on the lists.

This year, with details obtained for all but 10 of the housing authorities, the total has jumped to 122,872, meaning there has been a 23pc rise on comparable figures from 2009.

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The total is likely to reach close to 130,000 when the figures from the missing councils are included.

Housing officers across the country said the economic collapse was to blame for the deepening social housing crisis.

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