New programme for government must make a real and positive difference
In 2019, our Homeless Services worked with 1,622 people, including 187 families. Our Domestic Abuse Service supported 638 women in Galway, including mothers with their children.
Each year we support over 700 older people, many living in isolation in our communities who are barely getting by and for whom our health and community services are so vital.
The current process of the formation of a new Government represents an opportunity to make a real and positive difference to the lives of all of the people we work with.
Addressing the devastating impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on the broader economy and the challenges arising from this will undoubtedly be central to the Programme for Government that will emerge over the coming weeks.
Nonetheless, we must avoid the mistakes of implementing the type of austerity measures that followed the 2008/2009 financial crash, and take this opportunity to start afresh and address the inequalities which left so many behind over the recent years of recovery and increasing economic prosperity.
It is in this context that COPE Galway has prepared and put forward policy recommendations for the 2020 Programme for Government.
Our key asks remain the same as those we asked 2020 General Election candidates to commit to
Addressing Housing and Homelessness
- A commitment to a constitutional referendum to enshrine the right to housing into the constitution to protect the right to decent, secure and affordable housing for all during the lifetime of the next Government
- The construction of new social housing as the response to address the housing needs of those who cannot afford a home of their own and the discontinuation of the reliance on private rented housing for those in need of social housing
- Protections for those who are living in private rented housing through the enforcement and further extension of rent pressure zones so that those who need to live in private rented accommodation have their tenancy rights fully protected and have affordable rents
Responding to Domestic Abuse
- Ensure that women and their children are not forced to live in unsafe or dangerous situation due to not having somewhere to go. COPE Galway recommends starting the process of moving towards ensuring at least 1 refuge place per 10,000 of population.
Supporting Older People
- Making Homecare available on a statutory basis as a viable alternative to older people having to enter residential nursing home care – the legislation is already on the statute books so a commitment to enacting this is as part of the next programme for government is needed.