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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

St Vincent de Paul urges priority be given to those living in poverty

SVP Regional President for the Northern Region, Mary Waide

 SVP Regional President for the Northern Region, Mary Waide


With the General Election this week, St Vincent de Paul, the largest voluntary charity on the island, has appealed for candidates to give priority to those living in poverty.


The Society is celebrating 180 years in Ireland this year and its Regional President for the Northern Region, Mary Waide, says that in 180 years the need hasn’t changed but in fact, is now greater than ever before.



Mary said:


“Calls to our Regional Office doubled in 2021 and in 2022 requests for help rose by a further 50%.  Last year we received around 2,000 calls per month and sadly this year we have seen a further rise. 


“We work throughout Northern Ireland responding to needs within local communities arising from poverty. Our requests are mainly in respect of the basics of food, gas and electricity costs. Many people rely on benefits and payment levels are painfully inadequate when considered against today’s cost of living.”

 

SVP is calling for an end to the five-week wait when applying for Universal Credit. When people apply for Universal Credit or have their benefits reviewed, there is a five-week assessment period. 



Mary added: “St Vincent de Paul has responded to families, often with several children, being left with nothing to live on during this five-week wait. They are offered a loan which they have to pay back once benefits commence which builds poverty into the system. SVP believes this needs to stop.”

 

SVP is also calling for an end to the two-child limit which creates deeper levels of child poverty, stating that:


“Feeding four children on the money for two children creates hardship for all the children in the family in terms of food, having a warm environment in the home or the capacity to thrive educationally, leading to poverty of ambition, and causes the cycle of poverty to continue into adulthood.”



The charity believes that urgent work needs to be done to address the present housing shortage and to improve the standard of housing stock currently available.  

 

“Lack of social housing stock creates the need for people to have to rent privately. Benefits, which can barely meet the food and heat requirements, have to be diverted to cover rent top ups.”

 

Mary continued: “SVP would ask candidates across the region to make it their priority to address these issues, otherwise we believe that their constituents will be condemned to further poverty and injustice.”



SVP is an international charity and the largest voluntary charity in Ireland. SVP is committed to promoting self-sufficiency and working diligently for social justice. Dedicated SVP volunteers tirelessly work across all communities to support individuals, regardless of their background, who are battling poverty and social exclusion.

 

If you require help from SVP or if you would like to become a member, please visit www.svp.ie

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