77% increase in family homelessness in the West is a “tragedy”

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The latest homelessness figures for May show that that there has been a 77% increase in family homelessness in the West of Ireland, which Galway Simon Community has described as a tragedy.

They say that not enough is being done by the Government to address the crisis in the West of Ireland.

The figures for May 2018 show that in just one year, an additional 63 families and 174 children are in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland with the majority of those in Galway.

This represents an increase of 77% in family homelessness.

The total number of people in emergency accommodation now stands at 514 people in the West of Ireland and 9,846 nationally.

In the West, there are 281 adults, 252 of whom are in Galway, and 233 children with no place to call home.

Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community said the Government need to wake up to the reality of the situation and start taking it seriously.

“Month after month, the number of people in emergency accommodation is steadily increasing.

Locally here in Galway the emergency shelters and homes run by Galway Simon and COPE are at breaking point, meaning that hundreds of other individuals and families are forced to live in hotels, b&b’s and tourist hostels. It’s an absolute tragedy.

“Despite the worsening crisis, the Government have not taken any emergency measures to date.

“When Rebuilding Ireland was launched, the Government committed to moving all families out of emergency accommodation by mid-2017, and for hotels to be used in limited circumstances, however the Government failed to keep this promise,” Karen said.

Members of the Dáil reacted to the latest figures saying the situation was “truly shocking”, with another member saying “child homelessness is now up 80% since the Government came into office”.

Galway TD Catherine Connolly also recently spoke out about the worsening housing crisis in Galway saying “this year and next, 14 houses will be built in Galway” and went on to say “if the Government does not declare an emergency, we cannot come up with proper solutions”.

Karen added: “Behind these statistics are real people. Individuals and families who are struggling to get through life living in emergency accommodation.

“There are also thousands of others who are sleeping rough, hidden homeless, living in homeless services and people who are at risk of homelessness.

“Clearly the current policies are not working and we need immediate action. Members of the Dáil have been speaking out about this issue as well as all of the charities supporting the homeless population and it’s time the Government listens.”