The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that Ireland is on target to fail to meet its 2016 aim to reduce the numbers experiencing consistent poverty to 4%. The results of the EU SILC raises question about the quality of life for many people living in Ireland. The EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) has found that yet again high numbers of people are experiencing enforced deprivation at 29%, this was 26.9% in 2012 Consistent poverty remains at almost the same level as last year at 8%, this was 5.5% in 2009. Results of this study undertaken by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) were launched today.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland
said these figures suggest that many people and families are struggling all around the country.
“We know first-hand that more and more people are on the edge of homelessness, struggling to keep a roof over their heads, which often means forgoing basic necessities. The study reports that 29% of people were experiencing deprivation, for example not being able to eat a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day or going without heat during the last year through lack of money. The study also reports that 28% of those at risk of poverty went without heating at some stage over the year and 15.8% were unable to adequately heat their home. This study paints a picture of households facing huge amounts of financial pressure and strain having no option but to make difficult decisions which may impact of their overall health and wellbeing and that of their families.”
“Worryingly those living in rented accommodation below market rent were those most at risk of poverty at 36%, up slightly from 2013 which shows us just how difficult it is for those on low incomes to keep themselves in their home. There are currently 5000 men, women and children in emergency homeless accommodation nationally. Meanwhile, rents are increasing at rates of between 8-11% and the number of properties available are decreasing. There are 90,000 people on the social housing waiting list. The Social Housing Strategy commits to housing 32,000 households by 2017 and yet to date in 2015 the house builds and acquisitions reported by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government is 403. The people that we are working with – those who are homeless and at risk - are getting left behind yet again.”
“The Government needs to find better ways to support people in housing and to house people in the longer term. It is critical to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place and to support people to make the smooth transition from emergency accommodation to independent living. With the rent stability legislation that was introduced earlier this week, now is the time for the Department of Social Protection to increase rent supplement levels to ensure that people can remain in their homes. 92% of places available to rent are beyond the reach of people on state support.”
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.
For media queries and interview requests
Helen McCormack, Simon Communities of Ireland
Tel: 01 47 27 202/ 085 806 5141
Link to EU SILC report http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/newsevents/documents/pdfdocuments/prSILC2014.pdf
Homelessness - the numbers
• There are currently 5000 men, women and children in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, 738 families with 1,571 children, and 2448 single people. (DECLG, September 2015)
• During one night in March 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City. 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. (DRHE 2015) 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.
• Rent in the private rented sector increased by 20.3% from Jul 2013 –Jul 2015 (daft.ie).
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.