The national housing charity, Threshold has said that the latest homeless figures, which show that 8,374 people accessed emergency accommodation nationally in September, is a direct effect of the increasing pressures in the private rented sector. Of this number, 3,124 were children.
Commenting, Threshold chair, Dr Aideen Hayden said: “Threshold speaks to tenants on a daily basis who are suffering from the impacts of the current housing crisis, mainly due to rapidly rising rents, difficulty finding accommodation and being forced to accept unsuitable housing. These issues need to be addressed, including measures to improve security for tenants like where a property is being placed in receivership. Otherwise, we will see homeless figures continue to rise.”
She added: “For those living in private rented accommodation, which now provides homes for one in five households in Ireland, they are always a matter of weeks away from homelessness if they fall on hard times. We must remember that this is a nationwide problem with growing numbers outside the capital accessing emergency accommodation, with 315 people in Limerick, 278 in Cork, 181 people in Galway and 142 in Kildare.”
Threshold Chief Executive, John-Mark McCafferty, urged those who are concerned about losing their homes to contact Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service, a nationwide resource that provides advice and advocacy to people in this situation in the private rented sector.
He continued: “Many people outside of Dublin may not be aware of the vital homelessness prevention service we offer. It’s critical that people make contact as soon as they start encountering housing problems and keeping up with their rent payments before things spiral out of control.”
Threshold’s freephone helpline, 1800 454 454, can be contacted from 9am to 9pm, Monday to Friday. Through this service, concerned renters will receive immediate guidance about their rights as tenants, as well as landlord obligations; help in negotiations with their landlord to resolve problems and on taking further action if needed, including referral to the Residential Tenancies Board, and guidance on how to apply to the Department of Social Protection for an uplift in payment for families/couples or individuals in specific areas who are facing a rent increase and who are at risk of becoming homeless.