A welfare advisor has warned that Derry is currently in the grip of a housing crisis , with many struggling to find affordable accommodation and having to rely on staying with relatives and friends.
Kathleen Bradley, coordinator of Dove House Advice Service, said: “There are more and more people with lower incomes, reduced hours, and reduced opportunities for employment and that makes it harder to secure private rented accommodation. I think we need to re-examine and be honest with ourselves and let’s bust this myth that there’s work if you want to work. There isn’t.
“We need to start having conversations about the poverty that exists in 2016. It is as strong if not worse than in the 1980s and 1990s.
“For 80% of people on the social housing list it is going to be difficult to get housed. At the minute we have thousands on the list and every week there are new people presenting as homeless.
“Our housing strategy isn’t coping at the moment. We are not able to house the people that need to be housed. It’s difficult to get a house if you have children; it’s practically impossible to get a house if you are single with no children.”
Ms Bradley said there were people being forced to move out of rented accommodation as landlords decide to sell up, as well as overcrowding and families having to move in with relatives, resulting in stress for those affected. There are also people ‘sofa surfing’ going between family and friends, Ms Bradley said.