Record Level of Homelessness Extremely Concerning – COPE Galway

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Record Level of Homelessness Extremely Concerning – COPE Galway

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COPE Galway say the record number of 10,805 people reported living in emergency accommodation nationally for the month of August is simply confirming an alarming deterioration of the situation, as the local charity responds to climbing numbers of people homeless in Galway.

Nationally, the number living in emergency accommodation in August 2022 is up 32% year on year compared to the same month in 2021. In the west region, it is up by 17% including a 25% increase in the number of children.

“August of 2022 was different to any other we have experienced at COPE Galway,” explained Martin O’Connor, Assistant CEO of the local charity.  “There is usually some easing of the numbers presenting newly homeless in the month of August in Galway but not this year, quite the opposite in fact.  An additional five families came into emergency accommodation in Galway while the trend of a growing number of single people requiring emergency accommodation continued to climb.”

COPE Galway say that stemming the flow into homelessness and bringing additional social housing on stream has to be a priority for Government.  Mr O’Connor continued, “Words such as crisis, emergency and unprecedented are ones we use and hear on an ongoing basis about the current housing and homelessness crisis. But these are beginning to feel like background noise as the numbers grow and grow.  The Housing for All plan, which we know offers the longer term solution, is not meeting its targets, while all the time more and more families and individuals are being evicted from their rental housing or can’t afford the increasing rents demanded.”

COPE Galway are also growing increasingly concerned about a shortage of emergency accommodation options to meet the increasing numbers presenting as homeless in Galway.  “We are working in close cooperation with both Galway local authorities to ensure that there is an adequate supply of available emergency accommodation but the situation is challenging,” said Mr O’Connor. “Our own emergency accommodation facilities are continuously full and the private emergency accommodation providers who work with us, including local B&Bs and hotels, are similarly at capacity on a near continuous basis”.

“Too many are unable to leave such emergency accommodation, mainly due to the shortage of affordable rental housing while we see growing numbers newly presenting as homeless.  Through all of this, people who are homeless, most especially children, are living through what is a very stressful and damaging life experience through no fault of their own,” said Mr O’Connor.

“We know that this coming winter is going to be extremely challenging for so many across our community due to the cost of living crisis.  For those who have lost, or are about to lose their home, the situation is bleak in the extreme. It is incumbent on Government to address this, by taking action to stem the flow into homelessness and immediately bringing additional housing on stream,” Mr O’Connor concluded.

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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.

In 2021, COPE Galway supported 2,885 men, women, children and young people across Galway city and county. Their services are for people in our community who are homeless, who experience domestic abuse or for people who require nutritional support or support with independent living at home as they get older.

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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