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The Simon Community in Ireland has released figures suggesting that the number of homeless people in the country has reached a record high.
The charity’s statistics for July 2016 revealed that there were 6,525 people in emergency homeless accommodation that month, showing a 40 per cent increase since last year.
This figure includes 2,348 children; a 70 per cent increase since 2015.
“Homelessness needs to be treated as a national emergency,” Niamh Randall of the Simon Community told news.com.au.
“Our organisation launched a cut-the-red-tape campaign which is aimed at getting politicians to cut the bureaucracy and system failures preventing people from getting out of homelessness.”
Randall claimed even with over 200,000 empty houses in Ireland – 28 potential homes for each homeless person in Ireland – campaigners and activists are struggling to tackle the problem.
“We need to encourage people – whether it is through tax incentives or grants – to refurbish empty houses and rent them out,” she said.
Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Minister for Housing, is launching a new plan called Rebuilding Ireland designed to accelerate housing supply and tackle the country’s housing shortage.
Randall agrees that Rebuilding Ireland could be an effective project in solving many of the issues, but insists that the plan needs to be implemented quickly and effectively.
“The government needs to make this issue its number one priority.”