17 Aug 2022

'Extremely concerning:' Councillor worried over increase in those accessing homeless services in Kildare

'Extremely concerning:' Councillor worried over increase in those accessing homeless services in Kildare

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A Councillor and Deputy-Mayor of Newbridge has said that he is concerned over the increase in those accessing homeless services in Kildare.

Social Democrats Cllr Chris Pender said that high rents, evictions, and the ongoing impact of the pandemic have resulted in an increase in the number of homeless people and families in November.

He added that this is the sixth consecutive month of increases.

The Newbridge politician also pointed to data from the Department of Housing, which showed that 9,099 people were homeless in November 2021, including 2,548 children.

Cllr Pender explained: "Kildare has 137, an increase of 15 from the previous figure of 122 from October, a 12 per cent increase in those accessing Homeless services in the county."

"Since October, the figures show a 269 increase in the number of people without a roof over their heads, with 1,108 families spending a bleak Christmas in emergency accommodation." 

He added that while tenants were afforded additional protection from eviction during the series of lockdowns during the early stages of the pandemic, homelessness is once again on an "upward path."

"This latest increase in homelessness is a stark reminder that high rents are continuing to put families and individuals under increased pressure, while the pandemic's impact is also taking a hefty toll on low-income households," Pender said.

"Landlords served over 2,000 eviction notices in the first nine months of last year – more than in the entire previous year (1,902).

"Since the lockdown restrictions were lifted in April, the number of notices of termination has steadily increased," he added. 

Cllr Pender further claimed that "half of the termination notices served on tenants were from landlords selling their rental properties," and that the government's proposed regulations "have done a lot to discourage landlords while doing very little to protect tenants."

"This is extremely concerning at any time, but especially now that the number of Covid-19 cases has risen so dramatically.

"I'm honestly concerned about the months ahead as financial pressures, rising costs, and widespread Covid-19 cases push many people ever closer to poverty: every Christmas, we see an increase in the number of people requiring emergency accommodation for a variety of reasons, with numbers decreasing after the holiday season.

"However, we are in a very different situation this year, as the number of Covid-19 cases in the community has reached an all-time high."

Cllr Pender concluded: "This is having a genuine impact on people who are in unstable housing or employment, with our teams doing everything they can to keep people in their homes and keep them from becoming homeless."

In related news, Cllr Chris Pender publicly expressed on his official Twitter account that while he is not against vaccines, he would disagree with a possible implementation of a vaccine mandate in Ireland.

He instead insisted that it is the "piss poor health system" of Ireland that is a major factor in the nation's high Covid-19 rates, rather than the vaccination rates.

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