'Homelessness is caused by government policy, not recession' - Fr Peter McVerry

A record total of 134 families, with 269 children, became homeless in Dublin in January

Homeless, Dublin, increase, social housing, Fr Peter McVerry, Simon Community,

Fr Peter McVerry of the Peter McVerry Trust | Image: RollingNews.ie

Homelessness campaigners say not enough is being done to keep families in their homes.

It comes as new figures show 134 families, with 269 children, became homeless in Dublin in January.

That is almost triple the number of registered homeless families in the same month last year.

Sam McGuinness of Dublin Simon Community says it is extremely worrying.

"I think this issue will have to be addressed, it'll have to be addressed promptly, it'll have to be addressed immediately some government is formed" he said.

"I think in the meantime, I think all the agencies like ourselves - the local authorities, Dublin City Council etc - have to do more in terms of making sure people are kept in their homes" he added.

Focus Ireland says that ending the homeless crisis must be a top priority for the next government.

It says 125 of the overall figure - with 253 children - were 'newly' homeless, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) definition.

The DRHE categorises families as 'newly homeless' where they have not been homeless sometime during the previous two years.

"This highest ever monthly increase in family homelessness is a timely reminder to voters and the political parties that the 'recovery' has not reached a large number of communities and people", Focus Ireland said.

The statistics show that the January 2016 figure of 134 families is a 148% increase on the comparable figure of 54 for January 2015.

Focus Ireland is calling for five election demands to be delivered by the new government to help end the current housing and homeless crisis.

These demands include calling for the next government to set a firm target date for ending family homelessness, and also a commitment to build 40,000 social homes over the next five years.

And the Peter McVerry Trust has said it is very concerned by the latest homeless figures.

Fr Peter McVerry told Newstalk Breakfast emergency measures need to be put in place.