The homeless and housing charity says the private rental sector is incapable of delivering on housing need and describes the housing sector as being “broken”.
Its pre-budget submission, published yesterday, outlines what the Government must do immediately to stem the tide of homelessness.
National spokesperson for the Simon Communities, Niamh Randall, said they were in danger of creating “lost generations” — people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity who are being left behind.
“What we are seeing is that despite the claims of recovery, we are in very real danger of creating a lost generation. Second and third generations of people who are homeless or people who are experiencing housing insecurity, who are just left behind.”
Ms Randall said social housing construction in recent decades had stalled and mortgage debt and rents had spiralled.
“The human cost is enormous, not just for the people themselves but society as a whole,” she said.
As well as the many people trapped in emergency accommodation, there were the hidden homeless and those experiencing housing insecurity.
“Many are locked out of the private rental market because prices are too high and supply is too low while there are at least 90,000 people on the social housing waiting list,” she said.
“There is a constant flow into homelessness. So while some people are leaving emergency accommodation, others are quickly taking their place.”
Ms Randall, who also launched the charity’s ‘No One Left Behind’ campaign, said housing must not be viewed as a commodity.
“Everyone is entitled to an affordable, safe, and secure home, and income should not be a barrier to this.
“People cannot wait any longer. Far too many people are being left behind. We need urgent action now.”
Ms Randall said Budget 2018 was a critical one for the Government which must take measures to prevent homelessness; keep people in their homes and provide access to housing and support in housing.
“There are now over 8,000 people who remain trapped in emergency accommodation because there are no homes for them to go to. They are being left behind.”
Over the three-week campaign, Simon Communities will ask people to sign a petition demanding that the Government ensures that everyone can have access to affordable and social housing.