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Published on: Galway Simon Community News

Housing crisis preventing people from moving out of homeless services

Galway Simon Community have highlighted that the housing crisis is causing people to become “trapped” in homeless services. The homeless charity currently houses 73 people in their housing services which are located throughout Galway City and provide varying levels of staff support. 43% of the people living in these services are ready to move into independent living but are unable to due to the lack of affordable housing.

Emma Dolan, Head of Client Services at Galway Simon Community, said the worsening housing crisis is affecting their clients from progressing into independent living. “Our staff work with our clients to develop their life skills and to enable them to move into independent living when it’s appropriate for them. We currently have 32 people who are ready to make the move into independent living but they are trapped in our services as there are no options available for them to move out.

“The rising rents in the private sector, paired with the fact that rent supplements and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) have remained unchanged since 2013, means that rent has become unaffordable for our clients and many more. The gap between rent and rent supplement/HAP is far too high for people living on social welfare incomes. They simply can’t afford it.

“One of our supported houses, our resettlement house, aims to move people into independent living within six months to a year. However, the lack of affordable housing available to our clients has meant that this move on process has slowed down and come to a standstill for the most part.

“You can see a good example of this situation with a client’s story that is up on our website. Conor (name changed) is a young man that has been living in our resettlement house for the past 18 months. He has worked very hard since coming to our service and has been able to control his anxiety for the first time in his life and he is now ready to move into his own home. Our staff has been working with Conor over the last number of months to try and source affordable housing for him but the current rental market has made this an impossible task. We will continue to seek housing for Conor and in the meantime he will have a safe place to stay.”

To read more about Conor’s story, visit www.galwaysimon.ie. In addition to the 73 people currently living in Galway Simon’s supported housing services, the charity also works with over 130 others at any one time providing them with housing and support.