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'Housing for All' Must Live Up to its Name

‘Need for Social Housing Must be Met by Social Housing Provision’ – Martin O’Connor

Welcoming the publication of the new Government Housing plan, ‘Housing for All’, COPE Galway have described this plan as critical to the lives of many people who are experiencing the negative effects of the current housing crisis.

‘The provision of additional new build social housing is vital to addressing the plight of the many households who are on social housing waiting lists across the country and most especially here in Galway’ says Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.  ‘It is crucial that this target of 90,000 social houses are new build units and that these are delivered on time as set out in the plan.  Our local housing authorities are central to the delivery of these new houses and they need to be resourced and supported by Government to meet these targets.’

The Housing for All plan pledges to build 9,500 houses of the over 10,000 new social homes per year during the next decade as part of achieving an overall target of 300,000 new homes by the end of 2030.

COPE Galway are particularly welcoming of the specific commitment to the delivery of new build social housing units. Mr O’Connor expressed concern about the continuing overreliance on the private rental sector to meet housing need.  ‘Social housing need must be met through social housing new build provision.  We are seeing first-hand the inability and unsuitability of the private rental market to meet the housing needs of so many in our communities with unaffordable rents in many instances and people being evicted and ending up homeless on an ongoing basis’ said Mr O’Connor.  The July 2021 homelessness figures published by the Department of Housing in the past week showed a worrying trend towards a growth in homelessness across the country, showing 280 adults and 154 children living in emergency accommodation in the western region.’

‘The Housing for All plan explicitly identifies the eradication of homelessness as one of the Government’s policy objectives, something we in COPE Galway very much welcome,’ said Mr O’Connor.  ‘We are particularly pleased to see a target of 1,200 Housing First occupancies over the next five years as part of this plan.’

Martin O’Connor concluded by noting, ‘The Central Statistics Office figures, published just yesterday report that for the first half of 2021 there were 9,000 new housing units completed, with a forecast of 22,000 for the full year.  This is in the context of around 34,000 units needing to be completed annually for the foreseeable future, in order to meet demand according to CSO.  This gives you a sense of the challenge which Housing for All has to overcome’.

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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 supported 2,616 men, women, children and young people across the city and county.

The COPE Galway Approach is one of understanding, respect and response to positively impact the lives of people who struggle with the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and supports older people towards healthy and active ageing.  This approach recognises that each person has attributes and strengths that can make positive differences in their own lives.

COPE Galway has been providing essential social services across these three service areas 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’s strategy for 2020-2025 focuses the organisation on its mission: Making a difference by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities. 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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