Concerns have been raised about the stress and mental strain facing those in emergency accommodation in the West in the run up to Christmas.
New figures released on Friday show the number of people without a home decreased by 14 people in October, but Galway Simon Community has stressed that there are still far too many people trapped in emergency accommodation.
The local organisation say that Covid-19 is ‘exacerbating’ the situation for those who facing homelessness.
In October, there were 368 people including 50 families with 116 children recorded as living in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland.
“It is very welcome to see a decline in the number of people in emergency accommodation in the West,” said Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community.
“However, there are still far too many individuals and families who have to endure the trauma of homelessness especially as we approach the Christmas period which can be very emotional and difficult for people experiencing homelessness.”
Karen added that there are so many others not included in these figures who are living in hidden homelessness or are rough sleeping.
“At Galway Simon Community, we are seeing increases in demand across most of our Homelessness Prevention Services compared to the same period last year and this is very much a reflection of the impact that Covid-19 has had on our community.”
The charity explained they are doing everything they can to support people facing homelessness in the run-up to Christmas.
“Our frontline staff at Galway Simon Community are working hard to support as many people as possible to secure a home as well as preventing people from being pushed into homelessness at this time of year,” she added.
“We’re also doing everything we can to keep people safe from Covid-19 and to minimise the stress and anxiety that homelessness and isolation can cause”, Karen explained.
“Despite the incredibly difficult challenges this year has posed for many people in our community, so much positive work has been done across the board to prevent people from homelessness and from having to enter emergency accommodation.
“We must redouble our collective efforts to ensure this is a top priority. Now more than ever, it is essential that people have somewhere to call home to ensure their safety and wellbeing.”