Family Homelessness in Galway on the Increase while 38% Vacancy Rate in Rental Sector Beyond Belief

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Family Homelessness in Galway on the Increase while 38% Vacancy Rate in Rental Sector Beyond Belief


84 families, including 217 children in Emergency Accommodation on Midsummer’s Night 

COPE Galway saw 24 additional families entering homelessness across Galway City and County in the first 5 months of 2022. In the local charity’s quarterly one-day census, conducted on June 21st 2022, the longest day of the year, findings have also shown that there are 84 families including 217 children living in emergency accommodation, a 24% increase compared to same date last year.     

COPE Galway is highlighting the situation locally in Galway in response to the latest national figures for May 2022, which report numbers of homeless exceeding 10,000 for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.  

‘Unfortunately we are fast approaching the high levels of family homelessness we saw locally pre-pandemic,’ stated Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway. ‘In early 2020 there were over 100 families living in emergency accommodation here in Galway.  The measures introduced at that point, such as a moratorium on evictions, meant the tap was largely turned off in terms of the numbers coming into homelessness. By March 2021, we were accommodating and supporting a much-decreased number of 65 families.’  

Martin O’ Connor

‘The numbers started to climb after the lifting of the moratorium on evictions in April 2021,’ continued Mr O’Connor.  ‘Fortunately, additional social housing coming on stream over the past 12 months has ensured that some families have left emergency accommodation, but this simply isn’t keeping pace with increasing evictions from the private rented sector.’   

COPE Galway points to an acute shortage of available affordable rental accommodation in Galway as one of the main contributing factors to increasing homelessness. This shortage also increases the length of time people remain in emergency accommodation when they become homeless.   

‘Within the context of the increasing numbers homeless in our city and county, we also see that rents in Galway City increased by 13.8%, according to the most recently published rental report for Q1 2022 and just this week the CSO’s preliminary findings of April 3rd 2022 national census shows some 38% of rental properties vacant in Galway City. This vacancy level in the middle of a homelessness crisis is simply beyond belief,’

Martin O’ Connor

COPE Galway is calling for immediate action to arrest this increase in homelessness including;  

  • An immediate ban on evictions 
  • Steps taken towards ensuring that vacant properties are brought back into use   
  • Action taken against the persistent and unsustainable use of so many homes as short-term lets in Galway.  

‘While the only long term and sustainable solution to this crisis is the provision of new additional social housing, these are measures we can take now to alleviate the wholly unacceptable situation where so many children in our community are spending part of their formative years living in homelessness’.   

Contact Martin O’Connor  091 77 87 50               

COPE Galway Background Information 

COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. Last year, COPE Galway’s Homeless Service supported 1,316 men, women, children and young people across the city and county. 

COPE Galway understands, respects and responds to the needs of people in our community who face the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse. We support older people towards healthy and active ageing. COPE Galway seeks to make a difference in our community by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities.  

COPE Galway has been providing essential social services across the three service areas of homelessness, domestic abuse and senior support to the people of Galway on behalf of the state since the 1970s. They offer support services from 11 locations across the city with a team of 170 employees and 180 volunteers. COPE Galway places its values – rights, respect, hope, community, safety and professionalism – at the heart of its work in the community.   

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