Homelessness and housing charity Galway Simon Community has welcomed the government’s new Housing for All Strategy but stressed that it is crucial for the government to achieve the objectives contained within the plan to ensure the aim of eradicating homelessness can be realised.
Galway Simon Community has been advocating for an end to homelessness in the West of Ireland, and this was a key element of the charity’s submission to the Galway City Development Plan for 2023-2030. CEO Karen Golden commented that it is very positive to see Eradicating Homelessness as a key focus of the government’s new strategy. This will enable Galway City Council to include the ambition to end homelessness in the Galway City Development Plan, within the context of the national Housing for All policy.
However, the successful implementation of the measures within the new plan will be critical to its success. In the period of the government’s previous strategy, ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, the number of people living in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland increased by 101%. Rents in Galway have soared since quarter two of 2016 when ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ was launched – according to Daft.ie reports, average rent has increased by 55% in Galway City and 67% in Galway County over this period. At the same time, only 985 new social housing builds have come on stream in Galway City and County, 40% of which were Local Authority builds.
“The homelessness and housing crisis is at a critical point. There is a severe lack of affordable and social housing in Galway due to the slow pace of new social housing builds and the number of vacant properties. Rents are at an all-time high. Many people are being locked out of the rental market due to unaffordability. The fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on those in our local community. This has resulted in more people becoming homeless or finding themselves at risk of homelessness. At Galway Simon Community, our Homelessness Prevention and Housing Services have supported 25% more households so far this year compared to the same period in 2020”, said Karen Golden.
“We welcome the new Housing for All Strategy and the positive solutions contained within the plan to address the homelessness and housing crisis. We recognise the significant research and work that has gone into developing the Plan. However, we must see more impactful delivery with this strategy than Rebuilding Ireland. Work must begin immediately to ensure that we can work towards eradicating homelessness by 2030”, Karen added.
Tuesday 7th September 2021