More than 200 children will be spending their Christmas in emergency accommodation provided by COPE Galway this year.
This December, the charity is supporting 73 families with 200 children and over 80 single people living in emergency accommodation.
COPE is supporting a further 41 single men and women and 13 families in transitional accommodation across the community of Galway.
Sinead Carey, Head of COPE Galway’s Homeless Service, said there is “no comparison” between having your own home, and having to stay in a cramped B&B or hotel room.
“Mums and Dads worry about children missing out on formative experiences like Christmas memories and do their best to shield their children from the anxieties around not having a home of their own.”
“But living here has an effect on nutrition, on physical activity, on schooling. During periods of Covid restrictions difficulties engaging with remote schooling have been even more pronounced.”
“There’s an immediate challenge in meeting children’s developmental goals and milestones in unsuitable settings, one which we are doing our best to address, while the search for suitable and affordable housing continues.”
This Friday, December 3 COPE Galway is holding its annual Business Sleep Out, with over 50 local business leaders to spend the night on Shop Street.
This event has raised over €1 million for the charity’s homelessness services in the past nine years.
Sleep Out founder and former COPE Galway Board member, Hannah Kiely, said that the record numbers participating show that the community has not forgotten about homelessness, even during the pandemic.
“While I’m angered by the fact that homelessness is not going away any time soon, I’ve seen first-hand how COPE Galway relies on the funds raised, making a real difference to the lives of so many individuals and families in Galway.”
“This Christmas there are 37 children who, for the second year in a row, and some for their third, are wondering if Santa will find them on Christmas Eve.”