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Galway Simon Community have responded to the latest emergency accommodation figures for August saying that they are delighted to see the numbers come down but that this does not reflect their experience on the ground. The charity also stressed that these numbers are only the “tip of the iceberg”.
The figures for August showed that there was 412 people in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland, a decrease of 84 people on the previous month. However, this figure still represented an increase of 22% since the same period last year. The August figures include 68 families with 154 children who are all staying in what is supposed to be temporary emergency accommodation. The majority of these are in Galway.
“We are delighted to see that the number of people in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland appears to have decreased since the previous month, however, there are still 412 people trapped in emergency accommodation and this is really only the tip of the iceberg for the homelessness crisis in the West. During the month of August, Galway Simon Community supported approximately 300 households. Of those, only 14 would be included in the national emergency accommodation figures as the rest of our services do not fit into the criteria which these statistics report on. The scale of the homelessness crisis in the West of Ireland is much bigger than what is reported nationally. There are hundreds of others sleeping rough, sofa surfing and hidden homeless”, said Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community.
The Government have reclassified the national emergency figures three times this year in March, April and August. These reclassifications have prevented the official national figure from going over 10,000. Here in the West of Ireland, the reclassification in August means 117 people are no longer being counted as in emergency accommodation, reducing the official number from 529 people which would have been the highest figure ever on record.
The homeless charity say this decrease has not been reflective of their own work in Galway. “On the ground, our experience is that there are more individuals and families presenting to our services in need of our help. We have seen an increase of 17% in the demand for our services from January to August of this year compared to the same period the last year”, Karen said.
“Despite of all of this, we must still remember that each one of these statistics are real people; individuals and families who have no place to call home. They are doing their best to go about everyday life but that is extremely hard when you don’t have a secure home and you’re living out of emergency accommodation or homeless services. There must be a focus on trying to source secure and affordable housing for those who have no place to call home”, she added.
Friday 28th September 2018