Simon Communities helped 20% more people this year

Rate of homelessness continues to rise at alarming levels - charity calls for social housing and supplement increase

Newstalk, Simon Communities, increase, charity, homeless, homelessness, Niamh Randall, housing, home, supplement, social

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There has been a 20% increase in the number of people turning to the country's Simon Communities for help.

The charity, which releases its annual report today, says its supporting 7,500 thousand people who are currently experiencing homelessness.

It also claims that the numbers in emergency accommodation have risen to over 5,000 - nearly double the figure this time last year.

The Simon Community is blaming a mixture of spiraling rents and a shortage of affordable housing for the problem.

But spokesperson Niamh Randall says there are several possible solutions:

"We need some short term measures while we await housing supply to come on board."

"We absolutely need an increase in rent supplement or HAP limits - people cannot meet the market rent out there."

"We also need to look at the social housing strategy. It is not delivering at the rate required, so we need to look at enhancing it, we need to look at removing any of the blockages which are preventing it from being implemented."

"We need to see local authorities begin to build social housing and we also need to look at voids and empty properties around the country."