One in five worry about losing their home - Simon

New figures from the Simon Community highlight concern over rising rents and homelessness

One in five householders are worried about losing their home and one in four have concerns about being able to pay their regular household costs, according to new figures from the Simon Community. Photograph: Frank Miller

One in five householders are worried about losing their home and one in four have concerns about being able to pay their regular household costs, according to new figures from the Simon Community. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

One in five householders are worried about losing their home and one in four have concerns about being able to pay their regular household costs, according to new figures from the Simon Community.

The figures show 30 per cent of those surveyed are anxious about rising rents and 25 per cent are very concerned about their home housing costs.

Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the organisation is not surprised by how worried people are but the numbers that have emerged in the latest survey are very stark.

“Rents are continuing to rise at a time when the number of properties available is at an all-time low,” she said.

“ The Simon Communities see the devastating impact of rising rents and reduced housing supply daily, people and families on low incomes and those in receipt of rent supplement can no longer afford rental payments.”

Ms Randall said private rented supply was at the lowest level on record.

“More and more people are struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” she said.

“The vast majority of private rented properties on the market, 95 per cent, are beyond the reach of people who are in receipt of state support.

“There are at least 90,000 people on the social housing waiting list and by the end of September 2015, local authorities had built just 28 homes.”

Ms Randall said cutbacks over the last few years to funding for housing support, health services and social protection services have contributed to current crisis.

“The current system is scandalous where housing remains vacant while maintenance work is undertaken, which can take months to complete,” she said.

“The new government must act immediately and prioritise homelessness and housing as a matter of urgency.”

Ms Randall urged greater flexibility in the rent supplement support payment.

“Right through all the regions people are anxious and worried and it is clear housing and homelessness must be part of this election campaign and must be a feature of the new Government”, she told Newstalk radio.

“The reality is that we can not turn around and say to the 5,000 people in emergency accommodation today, wait two years for social housing to begin.”