Ireland's Catholic bishops have reiterated their call for a constitutional guarantee of the right to housing. In a statement issued following the hierarchy's regular two-day quarterly meeting in Maynooth, they say the reform, which would require a referendum, would make an important contribution to addressing the inadequacies of the current system. "This is a collective failure of our society to protect the most vulnerable amongst us," the statement reads. The bishops said the official count of 8,300 people using emergency homeless accommodation - including over 3,000 children and more than 1,400 families - does not include so-called rough sleepers, 'sofa surfers', or those who are involuntarily living with friends or relatives because no alternative accommodation is available to them. "The average rent in the Republic has risen by 61% since late 2011," the statement continues. "Tens of thousands of people are living with mortgages in arrears and consequently are at risk of losing their home." Irish bishops call for constitutional right to housing And it's not soon enough considering: Inner City Helping Homeless called on the Government to declare a National Homeless Emergency. "Yet another person with a name, a family and a story that died alone on the streets of our country. This cannot be allowed to continue," the group stated. "We have continuously warned that we would have more deaths on the streets if immediate emergency action isn't taken. With snow due later this week we fear this isn't the last death we will see before Christmas." Speaking today ICHH CEO Anthony Flynn said: "This death is another indictment on the lack of service provision being provided by the State. "Homeless services are in turmoil with extra beds not coming online quickly enough, we have weather warnings throughout the country and rough sleeping is at peak levels. "We require an immediate response or we will have more deaths on our streets. ICHH would like to offer our sincere condolences to the deceased lady and her family and friends." Homeless woman sleeping rough is found dead in Cork City centre doorway Winter is always a great time to get it together. Hell, the point in time count in the US happens one day in the winter for a reason.