Galway Simon Community has said that they are ‘deeply concerned’ at the record number of families experiencing homelessness in the West this winter.
The charity has issued an urgent appeal ahead of Christmas, asking people to support them to prevent the trauma of homelessness for families across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
In September, the west of Ireland saw a 39% increase on the previous year in the number of families in emergency accommodation.
According to the Department of Housing, there were 95 families with 209 children living in emergency accommodation in September, the highest number of families experiencing homelessness on record in the region.
Galway Simon Community supported 1,222 individuals in the first nine months of 2022, including 195 families with 420 children and the charity reports that the number of people seeking help is continuing to increase.
Single mother Megan and her six-year-old daughter Emily, are one of the families supported by Galway Simon’s Homelessness Prevention Services.
Megan has shared her story to highlight how the charity helped herself and her daughter.
When Megan came to Galway Simon she was deeply distressed after receiving yet another ‘notice to quit’.
Over the previous three years she had to move three times, and she was struggling to find any affordable accommodation.
The stress and worry Megan experienced was also impacting on her daughter Emily. All the uncertainty, all the moving around and having to change schools.
Emily really did not want to start another new school because it had been so hard to make new friends the last time they moved.
All Megan wanted was a place to live for herself and her daughter. Galway Simon supported Megan in completing the paperwork and understanding the system.
They also advocated on her behalf and this Christmas Megan and her daughter are settling into their new home, which offers greater security of tenure and eases their fear and uncertainty.
Megan is very grateful that she and Emily did not need to access emergency accommodation.
“I was desperately looking for a new place but there was no affordable accommodation available. Thankfully Galway Simon was there to help us.
“They helped me with all the paperwork and supported me in applying for housing. They were real lifesavers. Thanks to Galway Simon we are spending our first Christmas in our new home,” Megan said.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community says many other families, like Megan and Emily, are in need of their support.
“Galway Simon is facing huge challenges in providing supports to the most vulnerable people in our community,” said Karen.
“The impact of the current housing crisis, which has been further compounded by rising food and fuel poverty, is leading to an increase in the number of families facing the trauma of homelessness and coming to us for help.
“Our Christmas appeal is more important than ever to enable us to continue to prevent homelessness for families who coming to us in crisis.
“We are asking the people of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon to please give whatever they can to help us to keep families here in the West in homes and out of Emergency Accommodation this Christmas.”
If you would like to help prevent the trauma of homelessness for families in our community this Christmas, please visit galwaysimon.ie or call 091 38 18 28 to give a gift to Galway Simon Community today.