A meeting of the housing campaign group, Raise the Roof, in the Dan Shaw Centre in Navan, yesterday (Wednesday, 1st June), heard that new research has found that asking rents for properties in county Meath have risen by 10% in the last year. SIPTU Head of Communications, Frank Connolly, who presented the research at the meeting, said: “In the first quarter of this year, average asking rents in Meath on Daft.ie were €1,551, up nearly 10% on last year. Over the five-year period since 2017 rents have increased by 43% and the rate of increase in the last three years has been growing.” He added: “During the same period average wage rises were only 2%. Such a situation is unsustainable, it is directly leading to an increase in the numbers of people homeless or dependent on rent subsidy payments with all the hardship and stresses that entails.” The meeting was attended by several local elected representatives including Sinn Féin TD, Johnny Guirke as well as housing activists, trade unionists and people in housing need. DCU student activist, Christine O’Mahony, addressed the meeting on the issue of the lack of accommodation for young people and the detrimental impact that this was having on all aspects of their lives. SIPTU Meath District Council Secretary, John Regan, said: “There has been a rising trend in homelessness in Meath over the last five years. Since 2017, homeless numbers have more than doubled.  In the last year, homelessness rose by nearly 20%. There were 186 people in state-funded emergency accommodation in March this year in the county. There are of course many more sleeping rough or staying with friends or relatives due to the lack of a home.” SIPTU Meath District Council Chairman, Anton McCabe, said: “The cost of the housing crisis is not only measured in terms of the human misery it is inflicting on our community but also has major economic costs. Not least of these is the €52 million which has been spent on Housing Assistant Payments in Meath in the last three years. These payments are essentially a subsidy to private landlords to provide accommodation for those on the housing waiting list and do nothing to solve the crisis.” He added: “The meeting was held to relay the new research on the housing crisis in Meath and re-launch the local Raise the Roof campaign. The pandemic saw a break in campaigning but the Meath Raise the Roof campaign intends to once again put the housing crisis back to the top of the political agenda in our county.” The Meath Raise the Roof Campaign will be involved in national and local protests, meetings and political lobbying with information on these events to be released in the coming weeks.