Homelessness in Galway up by 20% in the past year

Galway Daily news COPE Galway extremely worried at record homelessness levels

The number of people living with homelessness has increased by 20 percent in the past year according to COPE Galway.

COPE Galway has reported that this week there were 174 households from across Galway City and County were living in emergency accommodation they provided, and another 24 people in the city known to be feeling the sharp edge of homelessness by sleeping on the street.

This represents a 20 percent increase on the same date in 2018 when the figure stood at 139 households.

COPE Galway conducted their most recent one-day census of the numbers of people using their services who were homeless or at risk of homelessness in Galway on June 21.

The figures released by COPE coincided with the Department of Housing’s publication of May’s homelessness figures that showed more than 10,000 people living without a home for the fourth month in a row.

The national figures for May 2019 stood at 10,253 of which 324 adults and 200 children were in the western region including Galway City and County.

COPE Galway are accommodating approximately two thirds of those in emergency accommodation in the west region in association with both Galway local authorities.

“We are continuing to see new people present to us in need of emergency accommodation with first time presentations of 14 families alone in the month of June 2019 and many others remain homeless for extended periods of time” explained Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.

“As a result of this the numbers in emergency accommodation are remaining persistently high and there are very real concerns that the flow into homelessness is going to continue for some time yet”.

In a positive note amidst all this, COPE said that between January and April of this year a total of 30 households including 14 families moved into homes of their own from their emergency accommodation and a further 17, mostly single person households, moved into some form of supported or transitional accommodation.

Martin O’Connor said that the number of people moving out of homelessness at a local level was encouraging, and due “in no small part” to the work of the city and county councils.

“However the continuing growth in homelessness at a local level in Galway again highlights the needs for more housing,” he added.

“Our two newly elected Galway Councils must make the provision of new additional social housing their number one priority”.