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Published on: Galway Simon Community News

35% increase in people in Emergency Accommodation in the West

March 1st 2018:

At Galway Simon Community we are deeply concerned to see the number of people in emergency accommodation, without a home constantly rising. The numbers have hit another record high with 9,104 people trapped in emergency accommodation across the country in January this year including 3,267 children. The figures also showed 306 people were in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland including 126 children, an increase of 35% from January 2017.The figures come just after a major conference was held in the city by local organisations addressing homelessness in Galway. The conference was a collaborative approach by organisations under the umbrella of the Galway City Community Network, including Galway Simon Community, who came together to discuss sustainable solutions to the homelessness crisis in Galway.Karen Golden, our newly appointed CEO said that it’s unacceptable that this number of men, women and children remain trapped in emergency accommodation and stressed that now more than ever, it’s time to focus on sustainable solutions.“It’s important to remember that behind these statistics, there are real people, including families and children, with no home to go to. These figures give a snapshot of the current homelessness crisis but there are many others living in homeless services, rough sleeping or who are the ‘hidden homeless’. People trapped in emergency accommodation and homeless services are finding it almost impossible to move on and leave homelessness behind them due to the lack of affordable housing in Galway and around the country. People deserve better than this, everybody should have a home appropriate to their needs.” Karen said.“The national figures on emergency accommodation have been steadily increasing since the homelessness crisis began four years ago. With over 5,000 people on the housing list in Galway City and County alone, it’s absolutely essential that there is a shift away from emergency measures to long-term solutions including the building of social and affordable housing to deal with the housing demand in Galway. At the same time, we need to keep people in the homes they already have. However as we all know, the private rental sector is becoming increasingly unaffordable for people with rents increasing by 12.4 and 14.1% in the City and County respectively last year. Security of tenure and rent certainty are critical to prevent homelessness,” she added.Karen went on to discuss Galway Simon Community’s involvement in the homelessness conference this week. “We were delighted to be involved in the conference this week which brought all of the key organisations together to discuss constructive solutions to the homelessness crisis in Galway. The conference was the first of its kind in Galway and we believe this was a significant step in addressing the crisis in a collaborative way. We look forward to working with the Galway City Community Network to focus on preventing families and individuals at risk of homelessness in Galway entering emergency accommodation while also improving outcomes for those who have no option but to access homeless services.”

“We are working in collaboration with Galway City Council and Cope to provide additional beds during this cold snap and to ensure that everybody has the option of a warm bed and a hot meal.”