Sinn Fein demand truth about homelessness
Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has called on the Department of Social Development to publicly state the number of people homeless in the North of Ireland.
Mr McCartney said:
"The most recent figures tell us that over 20,000 people are now homeless and in the Derry City Council area there are 800 people homeless and over 2,000 on the waiting list.
"This situation cannot go on with more and more people becoming homeless on a daily basis.
"Everyone who works with the homeless across the range of housing organisations and those working to try and tackle homelessness, feel a deep frustration at the apparent lack of social housing in this area. At present Sinn Féin deal with people daily who have no prospect of getting a social house in the next 6 or 12 months.
"With the waiting list in Derry City Council Area standing at over 2000 and with over 800 of these classed as homeless the waiting list for social housing grows and will continue to grow on a daily basis.
"With the lack of new builds planned the foreseeable future for the homeless situation in this city is going to get steadily worse. Of course the Skeoge Road has finally started but it will take 18 months before social housing is approved by the planners for the Skeoge site.
"It is also my experience that the vast majority of people presenting themselves as homeless are young one parent families', people who have been living from pillar to post.
"The shortage of social housing and the exorbitant cost of private housing give me little hope that we are going to have places to house these young people. If it were not for brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and friends, these people would be living on the streets.
"DSD. must reveal the true facts of the homelessness in the North if they ate to get to grips with the whole situation. Delay only adds to an already serious Homeless situation that we find ourselves in to-day." ENDS