SIMON COMMUNITIES EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT STATE’S ABILITY TO MEET THE HOUSING NEED
The homelessness charity welcomed first National Statement on Housing Demand and Supply
29th July 2015
The Simon Communities in Ireland welcome the first National Statement on Housing Demand and Supply launched today outlining that 21,000 homes need to be built annually to meet housing need.
However, the homeless and housing charity also stressed the urgent need for housing given the growing numbers of people becoming homeless and in housing difficulties across the country.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that while the National Statement say the pace of housing output needs to accelerate over the next three years to meet demand, the Simon Communities believe it must be more urgent than this.
“We welcome this National Statement and the fact that it will be produced annually will hopefully prevent us repeating the many mistakes of the past in relation to housing supply and provision. The Simon Communities across Ireland are working with thousands of people who need access to housing immediately. We urge the Government to continue with vital funding for Social Housing especially for Housing Associations like the Simon Communities to provide housing for people who are homeless.”
“The homeless and housing crisis continues and the pressure is growing all around the country. The population is increasing and household sizes are reducing, increasing housing demand. Prices are continuing to increase in the private rented sector and supply of rental accommodation is at the lowest point in a decade. Meanwhile, house prices have also increased and this affordability issue means that people are not moving on from rental accommodation. The supply and demand mismatch which is identified in the Statement as the key challenge is one we are all too familiar with as we respond all around the country. The Statement tells us that there is a potential shortfall of over 48,000 housing units between 2012 and 2018.”
“The latest figures for people trapped in emergency accommodation tell us there are a total of 3,134 adults, 565 families and 1,211 children in emergency accommodation nationwide. Far too many people are sleeping rough, more are dependent on family and friends for a couch for the night. The Simon Communities are finding ourselves in a very stark reality. We need to ensure people have access to housing right now.”
Homelessness – the numbers
- There are currently 3,134 adults in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, and 1,211 children. (DECLG, May 2015)
- During one night in April 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City (DRHE 2015). This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 people sheltering at the Nite Café. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).
- In December 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork winding down since March 31st).
- In December the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.
- There are 90,000 people on the Social Housing waiting list (Housing Agency 2014)
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years. The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year.
Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie.
Services range from
- Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
- Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
- Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
- Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.