Homeless Service accommodates over 500 people on March Equinox

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Homeless Service accommodates over 500 people on March Equinox


COPE Galway appeals to community for suitable spaces to help relieve immediate accommodation pressure as more people likely to become homeless. 

COPE Galway says they are alarmed and concerned at the high numbers about to lose their homes in Galway in the coming weeks and months. This comes as the Residential Tenancies Board has this week revealed they received 267 Notices of Termination (NOTs) in Q4 of 2022 for Galway in addition to 286 NOTs received in the previous quarter. These latest figures represent a near fourfold increase in the number of NOTs of tenancies nationally in 2022 compared to 2021. They are published just days after the ban on evictions ended.       

COPE Galway points to the findings of their own first quarterly census of 2023 as an illustration of the enormity of the challenge Galway is already dealing with before the effect of the eviction ban ending puts further pressure on an already heavily burdened homeless service locally. The findings reveal that there were 375 people living in emergency accommodation and a further 134 people in transitional spaces in Galway over the 24-hours of the spring equinox (March 21/22). The charity’s Street Outreach and Day Centre teams identified an additional 25 people who were rough sleeping in this same 24-hour period.  

‘These are staggering figures for Galway,’ said COPE Galway’s Martin O’Connor. ‘The demand on our services is higher than ever before and will undoubtedly increase. We now have 99 families with 155 children in emergency accommodation. 16 of these families entered into emergency accommodation during the five-month period of the eviction ban. With the handbrake now released as the ban has ended, we can only see this increasing further over the coming weeks and months. We are very worried about where these men, women and children will go.’ 

In addition to the increasing number of families, 65 single-person households and 3 couples availed of emergency accommodation on that date.  In the period since the March 6 announcement of the eviction ban ending, an additional 15 households have presented to COPE Galway seeking assistance with accommodation.    

Mr. O’Connor continued, ‘The immediate challenge for us is that the figures from our census findings are reflective of the actual capacity in terms of the numbers of beds available to us. There is an already heavy reliance on B&Bs and Hotels, with 88 families and 28 single/couple households accommodated across the city currently. It is proving very difficult to grow this capacity.’ 

COPE Galway is appealing to accommodation operators to get in touch to help alleviate the crisis.

‘We now have an immediate need for additional accommodation that can be used for emergency accommodation purposes’ said Mr. O’Connor.  ‘Without this stop-gap, we are genuinely afraid that this housing crisis will see an increase in rough sleeping and the occurrence of something we have never seen in Galway – families, and most especially children, without a place to stay.  Along with the two Galway local authorities, we continue to do all in our power to safeguard against the occurrence of such an unprecedented and dismal situation. But we also need the support and assistance of the wider community. We are especially anxious to hear from accommodation operators who are in a position to work with us.’ 

COPE Galway publishes its census findings as national figures for February show 11,742 people are living in emergency accommodation nationwide. This represents a 23% yearly national increase.  

‘We recognise that growing emergency accommodation supply is not a solution to homelessness, it is only a sticking plaster response to this huge crisis,’ said Mr O’Connor. ‘What we urgently need is additional housing – particularly social housing. This will allow the families, couples and single men and women, whether already homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness, to have a secure and affordable home and avoid the traumatic experience of homelessness. Until we see more houses being built, we must rely on the support of the whole community.’ 

If you wish to discuss ways you can support COPE Galway with accommodation options, their team is available to speak with you – 091 77 87 50 / info@copegalway.ie

Media Queries: Colette Coughlan, 085 8589781 / ccoughlan@copegalway.ie

Background Information

COPE Galway works with individuals and families from Galway City and County to provide homeless supports and accommodation. Services cover the spectrum from prevention, emergency accommodation and transitional accommodation through to resettlement and tenancy support.  COPE Galway is a local organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. COPE Galway has been delivering essential social services across Galway City and County for 50 years across its Homeless, Domestic Abuse and Older People Services.    

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