Housing crisis threatening future of younger generations
Sinn Fein Housing Spokesperson Fra McCann MLA has said that the Housing Crisis is having a particular impact on young people and warned Housing Minister Margaret Ritchie that it was threatening the future of younger generations.
Mr McCann said:
"Day and daily young people are telling me that they don't see how they can find accommodation; they can't get a house through the social housing sector; they can't afford the private rents that are being charged and they can't afford to buy.
"The reality is that the housing is threatening any chance of a future for younger generations.
"Demand for housing is at a chronic level and for many there seems to be little or no hope for any success in gaining a home.
"For many people the main source of housing is within the private rented sector, however this is presenting major financial hardship for those reliant on social security benefits and people on low wages. Rents in the local private sector have risen dramatically in the past two years and in my experience, one of the biggest problems facing tenants in receipt of Housing Benefit, is the struggle to pay the rent.
"There have now been reports that many people, in particular young people who have found themselves in this trap and thus forced to leave their accommodation, are being told that they are being investigated for fraud as they are deemed as 'purposely making themselves homeless'.
"Yet what is actually happening is that many private tenants are being forced to find between an extra £20 and £40 a week from social security benefits to bridge the gap left by poor housing benefit levels. People are being forced to neglect other household bills and spending less on food and fuel in order to pay their rent.
"Access to housing is a basic human right. Yet, the current housing crisis means that thousands are trapped on social housing waiting lists, thousands are unable to afford to get onto the housing ladder and thousands of people are left homeless." ENDS