Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Living in the

twilight zone

Dear Editor

The latest homelessness figures, which reveal that of the 9,104 people accessing emergency accommodation nationally in January, 354 people were living in the South East region with 119 in Waterford. Of particular concern is the regional figures for the South East of which 78 children were homeless. The increase in homelessness is a direct result of the increasing pressures in the private rented sector.

Through our work over the years, we know that the homeless figure is higher, there is a growing number of ‘hidden homeless’ – people sleeping on relatives’ sofas; families living temporarily in the spare room of a friend’s home; people moving from the floor of one place to another in order to avoid having to access emergency accommodation. The rise in the official figures do not include the plight of people and families currently living in this twilight zone.

Some tenants are even staying in structures not fit for human habitation but with the lack of supply and increased levels of homelessness they feel they have no option but to remain in such places.

In response to the growing risk of homelessness being faced by tenants in the private rented sector in recent years, the national Tenancy Protection Service, a Freephone service (1800 454 454) provided by Threshold, was introduced to prevent families becoming homeless in the first place. Threshold’s own figures chime with the latest homelessness figures.

We are urging those who are renting and worried about losing their home to call our Tenancy Protection Service for information, advice and support. It is a vital service ensuring that individuals and families at risk of homelessness throughout Ireland stand a better chance of staying in their current housing without having to seek homeless services.

Sincerely

Cathy Flanagan

Communications Executive

Threshold Ireland Head Office,

21 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7

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