People Before Profit have said that the 311 people currently homeless in Galway are an example of the government’s disinterest in fixing the housing system.
The Department of Housing recently released figures for the month of August which showed that the number of homeless people in Galway went up by 19 since June.
While nationwide the number of people living in emergency accommodation climbed by 63 in August.
“The homelessness services in Galway are already being pushed to their limits,” said local PBP representative Joe Loughnane.
“They’re doing great work supporting members of the Galway community who are the most vulnerable. But with the best will in the world, even if you manage to bring someone through that system, they hit the same bottlenecks; there simply aren’t enough affordable houses being built.”
Loughnane repeated PBP’s stance that there needs to be a seismic shift away from a reliance on private housing and called for the declaration of a National Emergency on the housing crisis.
“This would mean funds could be released for local authorities to start building public housing. Secondly, we believe that there should be a ‘right to housing’ in the Irish constitution.”
“This would mean that a government would have to consider whether or not a decision or policy is going to make it harder for people to access housing.”
A constitutional amendment that is a factor in legislative decisions would help counterbalance what Loughnane described as a comfortable relationship between the government and private property developers.
“Finally, we are calling for the creation of a national construction agency to take control of building supply. This agency would not be motivated by profit, and it’s main priority would be putting roofs over people’s heads.”
The chief homelessness services in Galway are provided by the Galway Simon Community and COPE Galway, both of which have seen a monumental increase in demand for their services since 2015.