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COPE Galway says homelessness is increasing in Galway despite Department figures saying otherwise

Official figures not an accurate reflection of the extent of homelessness in Galway.

The homeless situation in Galway is worse than ever, says COPE Galway. Commenting on the controversy last week on foot of the publication of the latest homelessness figures, the local charity says the re-categorisation of some who are homeless so as not to include them in the official figures is a distraction from the very real challenge homelessness is presenting both nationally and locally in Galway.

COPE Galway’s most recent quarterly one day census conducted on Sept 20th to 21st 2018, identified a total of 199 adults and 197 children as living in emergency accommodation both provided directly by COPE Galway and in private emergency accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs.  Of this figure 86 were families.  COPE Galway says this contrasts to the official reported figure of 68 families and 154 children as homeless in the entire west region of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government for the week of August 20th to 26th 2018.  Nationally, the official figure reported was a total of 9,527 people as homeless between those dates.

“The manner in which homelessness is counted has always been a contentious issue, with the figures only including families and individuals living in emergency accommodation and whose details are on the Pathway Accommodation & Support System, the PASS system,” explained Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.  “These official figures do not include people sleeping rough or the growing number of families without a home of their own who are bunking in with relatives and friends.  COPE Galway alone had contact in the past week with nine families currently living in such settings who are in need of emergency accommodation.  It’s unknown how many more there are locally and nationally who don’t have a home of their own and who are dependent on the generosity and understanding of others, and these are ignored when it comes to the official figures.”

“The situation is just unrelenting,” said Mr O’Connor.  “We are seeing new presentations of people becoming or about to become homeless on a daily basis and as a consequence, the numbers in emergency accommodation continue to grow – not reduce, as the official figures indicate.”

COPE Galway highlights that the situation would be much worse in Galway only for the efforts of both the statutory and voluntary agencies working on the ground.  They focus in particular on the positive impact made in supporting families and individuals to access private rented housing by the appointment of the role of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Place Finder and the introduction of homeless HAP by Galway City Council.

However, the organisation says that without more housing coming on stream, particularly social housing units, they fear that the situation will continue to deteriorate.   “The upcoming Budget 2019 announcement next week is a further opportunity for Government to show that it is serious about addressing homelessness and not just distracting themselves in trying to manage the official figures”, concluded Mr O’Connor.


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.

For more information:

Phone 091 778750 / Email

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