Almost one in two of homeless adults in the West are women

galway daily news women homelessness west of ireland
L – R: Karen Feeney, Galway Simon Community, Karen Golden, CEO Galway Simon Community, Aisling O’Hara, Galway Simon Community.

Galway Simon Community has said that nearly one in two of homeless adults accessing Emergency Accommodation in the West are women.

Highlighting the statistic ahead of International Women’s Day yesterday, the charity said there was a 15% increase in the number of women in Emergency Accommodation across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon in the last year.

Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community, said that homelessness is often associated with men, but in reality 47% of homeless adults in the West are women.

With some women who are supported by Galway Simon, the key issue they are facing is the lack of affordable housing.

“When we can help them to either retain the accommodation they have or find alternative housing and to avoid the trauma of Emergency Accommodation, they have no further need of our Services,” said Karen.

“For others, there is sadly a strong link between domestic violence or abuse and homelessness among women. We also see that women’s experiences of homelessness are largely influenced by high rates of adverse childhood experiences.”

She said that mental and physical health issues can also sometimes be the cause of homelessness.

“For women with more complex needs, we provide a higher level of support and we are here for as long as we are needed.”

Galway Simon set up a dedicated Women & Families Service in 2019 to provide specialised supports to women and their families affected by homelessness.

Through its Prevention Service, the organisation supports women who may be at risk of homelessness to remain in their own home.

Where this is not possible, Galway Simon helps them access secure and affordable housing and to continue to live as part of their local community.

The charity also provides a specialist service to exceptionally vulnerable and marginalised women where the focus is on having a safe home, supporting health and wellbeing recovery, and reconnecting with society using a trauma informed approach.

“In 2022 over 400 of the households that Galway Simon Community supported included female adults,” added Karen.

“We work in collaboration with other health and housing agencies with the aim of providing women-centred services to bridge gaps and ensure that our interventions protect women’s safety.

“We provide therapeutic supports and work holistically with women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We also look to address the root causes of the vulnerabilities that place women at greater risk of homelessness.”