Homelessness has not gone away, says COPE Galway

Galway Daily news COPE Galway supported over 2,600 people in 2020

COPE Galway has asked that people in Galway do not forget the plight of people who are homeless and without a place to call home as we continue to live with the pandemic.

On the night of the Spring Equinox, the local charity accommodated 171 adults and 168 children in emergency accommodation.

COPE Galway’s most recent ‘point in time snapshot’ census on March 21 reports that 79 single people and 65 families were supported by COPE Galway.

They were accommodated in emergency accommodation hostels, a Family Hub, own door self-contained units for families and B&Bs.

On that date a further 40 single people were accommodated by COPE Galway in a range of transitional community based shared houses in Galway.

In addition, the Rent Index produced by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has detailed that the standardised rent for Quarter 4 of 2020 in Galway City was €1,166, representing a 2% increase on this time last year.

Galway County experienced a 5% increase on the same period, with the figure standing at €1,106.

“Both sets of figures are going in the wrong direction and are not unrelated,” said Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.

“We are particularly concerned about the growing number of single people who are relying on emergency accommodation here in Galway, many for extended periods of time.

“This is in part down to the fact that rent levels are beyond what many can afford.

“Fortunately we have seen a drop in the numbers of families in emergency accommodation but are concerned that when the current moratorium of evictions ceases, those on notices to quit from the private rental sector and who are desperately trying to rent new homes simply won’t be able to afford do so.”

Mr O’Connor said that additional social housing is needed urgently as the most important response to this situation, but he said that there is a question mark over how Government plans to meet their ambitious build target for 2021.

“The 2021 national target for housing delivery through building is 9,500.  This is part of the overall 2016 to 2021 target at 34,210 of which 22,977 have been delivered.

“While it is clear that the overall five year target won’t be met it is vital that this year’s target is achieved.”