The figures should act as a rallying call for urgent action and for the State to declare a housing emergency, says the Society.
Jennifer Thompson, SVP Social Policy Development Officer said, "An urgent reassessment of the Government's housing policy is needed. The key response to this crisis is to provide much greater protection to keep people in their homes as well as addressing land hoarding and prioritising the building of social and affordable housing. We also need the Government to quickly publish its strategy for dealing with vacant properties. We urgently need more social and affordable homes and must stop the continued overreliance on the private sector to meet social housing need”.
"It is also essential to stem the flow of those becoming homeless and enhance the protection for tenants to prevent the shocking figure announced today from growing even more. SVP members are increasing seeing a huge number of families receiving notices to quit and stressed by the fear of homelessness" she said.
SVP was responding to the latest figures from the Department of Housing which shows that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless in January.
This is an increase of 6% in one month alone from 8,587 in December last year to 9,104 last month. The number for January includes 5,837 adults and 3,267 children.
SVP National President Kieran Stafford said "SVP members are seeing on a weekly basis the reality and hearing the stories of the individuals and families behind these statistics and trends. The figures released today are a further stark reminder of the dangers of relying on the dysfunctional housing market to address our housing and homelessness crisis. Families living in emergency accommodation consistently face the uncertainty over their future and when they will find a home, they endure the daily worry of how they are going to feed their children, concern over the disruption to schooling, and the stress placed on families forced to all share the same room".