SDLP councillor claims 46 people, including children, living in one house in Newry

SDLP councillor Michael Savage

A SDLP councillor has claimed 46 people, including children, are living in one house in Newry amid growing concerns about social housing in the city.

They are understood to be living in the Armagh Road area and believed to be members of the Roma community.

Michael Savage said there have been "concerns raised with me through people in the education sector that they are deeply concerned for the welfare of potentially vulnerable young children who are sharing a house with up to 46 people".

"We have no idea if the people alternating beds in these properties are known to the children or are complete strangers.

"This is leaving these young children vulnerable and is causing concern to teachers and other professionals who are engaging with these children on a daily basis.

"We need 1,000 units built just to stand still to meet the current demand and until we get these units built some of the most vulnerable people in our city are being forced to live in unacceptable conditions."

Mr Savage said 'hot-bedding' - when people sleep in the house during the day leave and others then take their beds - was increasing.

"There has been particular pressures placed on the city's valued migrant communities that provide much needed labour in our local processing plants, factories construction firms and other businesses,"he said.

"I am aware that the practice of hot-bedding has been going on in a smaller scale in private rented properties across Newry where shift workers take up beds vacated by house-mates on alternate shifts.

"This issue underlines further the huge need to get social houses built in this city as quickly and strategically as we can to ensure that every citizen has a decent place to call home."

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council said it had not received any complaints of 'hot-bedding' and that "councils have powers to deal with overcrowding in a private dwelling...if it is deemed prejudicial to health to those living there or a nuisance".

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