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Leading NGOs say ‘government wrangling’ has delayed action on the homelessness crisis

Government ministers are being called “to set ideology aside and respond to the reality that confronts us”.

Image: Mark Stedman via RollingNews,ie

RENT HIKES ARE driving hundreds of families and individuals into homelessness and leading homeless NGOS say ‘government wrangling’ has delayed action on the homeless crisis.

Six national homeless organisations and two Regional Homeless Networks have come together to warn the Government that failure to deliver rent certainty will force more households into homelessness.

The organisations called for Government ministers “to set ideology aside and respond to the reality that confronts us”.

Focus Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust, Simon Communities of Ireland, Society of St Vincent De Paul, Depaul Ireland and Threshold have joined forces with the Dublin Homeless Network and the Cork Homeless Network to release the stark statement:

Whether we work with single people, young people or families we are all seeing more and more people becoming homeless simply because they cannot afford to pay their rising rent bills.

“In Dublin rents have shot up by up to 30% in the last three years, and rents have increased by over 20% nationwide from July 2013 to July 2015. Meanwhile, rent supplement payments haven’t been raised in three years and people simply cannot afford to pay the rent that landlords are asking.

They struggle to keep a roof over their heads. They are getting into deep debt and then end up losing their homes.

“It is increasingly clear to all the organisations working to support people who are homeless that if the Government leaves it to the market to set rent levels there will be a massive increase in the number of families and individuals losing their homes and becoming homeless over the next few years, long before ‘new supply’ has any chance of becoming available.

“The homeless organisations stressed they want to send a clear message that even with the dedication of all staff and volunteers, the organisations will not be able to deal with the scale of homelessness which a lack of firm action to curb rocketing rents will create over the next few years. The Government needs to be absolutely clear about the social and human consequences if they fail to moderate rent rises.

Expert organisations on which the Government normally relies for advice – for instance, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and National Economic and Social Council (NESC) – have recommended that well structured regulation is good not only for tenants but also for landlords and for investors in rented property.

“Families and individuals urgently need some form of rent certainty to slow down rental hyper-inflation and an increase in the level of rent supplement so that they can pay the rent increases that have already been imposed.”

Read: Irish rents have scored a new record – and it’s not a good one>

Read: The Irish economy is meant to be recovering but July saw homeless families reach record levels>

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