Waterford City and county has seen a 74% rise in the number of people presenting themselves as homeless in the first eight months of 2015.
The September metropolitan council meeting recorded 320 people as homeless on August 25, 2015, compared to 323 people in the entire 12 months of last year.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Fianna Fáil councillor Eddie Mulligan said the homeless situation in Waterford was “appalling”.
“I think it’s a disgrace in modern-day Ireland that we have a situation where, in the first six months of a so-called stabilisation, we have an escalating situation of homelessness in Waterford,” said Mr Mulligan.
He criticised the Government for the drastic increase in the homeless situation.
“I firmly believe that what we’re witnessing is deliberate Government policy to reduce home ownership, drive up the rents in urban areas, and provide minimal funding for social housing,” he said.
“That’s effectively what’s happening and from what the people on the ground can see all these contributions are really to improve the bank’s balance sheets relating to mortgages and stress loans because certainly banks are not dealing with that and that is one of the biggest contributors at the moment.”
Mr Mulligan said he has seen a rapid increase in the number of people requiring emergency accommodation over the past 12 months.
“We’re dependent on Government support but I feel the Government aren’t doing enough in Waterford,” he said. “We have been undersupplied in terms of social housing over the last number of years. People are doing their utmost to hold on to their houses but we are going to see an increased level of repossession.”
Mr Mulligan insisted the economic recovery has yet to reach Waterford.
“There’s actually a three-tier recovery going on,” he said. “You have the recovery in Dublin and you have the recovery down in the peripherals of Dublin and the other cities, but here in Waterford... we’re not seeing any recovery.
“There are one or two developments coming to completion at the moment but it’s nothing like the figures required to actually house people who are on the housing list at the moment. Certainly what we need to see at the moment is action in the actual initiation of building schemes.”
Mr Mulligan’s comments come off the back of the September meeting of the amalgamated authority where Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Butler said homelessness in Waterford was at a “crisis point”.
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