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COPE Galway Responds to Latest Department of Housing Figures on Homelessness

‘Accurate figures are important,’ says COPE Galway.

Homelessness is at a record high with 9,872 people reported by the Department of Housing to have been homeless and in emergency accommodation in June of this year. This number, however, should not be mistaken for being an accurate picture of how many people are ACTUALLY homeless. The figure does not include the numbers of people rough sleeping or ‘hidden’ because they are sleeping on sofas and floors in the homes of friends or family NOR does it take account of the 585 Traveller families living on unauthorised sites.

What Government describe as an “encouraging” 16% reduction in the numbers of households waiting for social housing since last year is another figure that needs to be qualified. Housing Assistance Payment, better known as HAP, has replaced Rent Allowance for families and individuals who are receiving ongoing financial support to meet the cost of their private rented housing. Anyone who is in receipt of HAP is removed from the social housing waiting list, an administrative change that no doubt accounts for much of the 16% reduction.

COPE Galway is fully supportive of the efforts being made by the Government to address the current housing shortage and homelessness crisis but under-reporting the extent of the need is not helpful to anyone.


Note to Editor:

COPE Galway is a local Galway Organisation whose vision is an “Improved Quality of Life in a Home of your Own” for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic violence, and older people.  In 2017 COPE Galway worked with 1012 adults and 576 children affected by homelessness in Galway, including 242 families and 695 single people. They also worked with 339 individual women and 214 children experiencing Domestic Violence; delivered almost 50,000 meals on wheels to Older Clients around Galway & supported 1,740 individuals through the FEAD programme (Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived). The organisation joins the national call for solutions to end the housing and homeless crisis.  However, while national solutions are being progressed, COPE Galway believes that more immediate solutions can be put in place at a local level.

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