COPE Galway has warned that the precarious situation of many people on the edge of homelessness is being made worse by the cost of living crisis.
The homelessness charity is calling on the government to increase social welfare payments, fuel allowance, and HAP limits in its pre-budget submission.#
“This is a rapidly changing and deteriorating situation for a growing number across our community. Many are increasingly fearful of what the coming winter and beyond will bring,” said Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway.
“We are calling on Government to take action in the upcoming budget to insulate people against the worst impacts of the crisis we are facing into.”
“For many, keeping the lights on and having food on the table while keeping a roof over their head, cannot be taken for granted”.
The local charity is seeking an increase in social welfare payments by a minimum of €20 a week, as well as €15 per week increase in the fuel allowance, and an extension to the length of time it is paid out.
COPE submission also calls for the prioritisation of social housing builds under the Housing for All plan, and an increase of the HAP limits to reflect the reality of the cost of rent.
“People who are reliant on HAP need to have a fighting chance to secure rental accommodation to help prevent them falling into homelessness,” said Mr O’Connor.
“There were a record number of people nationally living in emergency accommodation this July. Unfortunately this figure is continuing to grow as more and more people are on notices to quit their private rented accommodation,” he added.
“Social housing is the viable and sustainable solution to address the housing needs of many of these households. Families, couples and single men and women are falling into homelessness”.
COPE Galway has also said that the country urgently needs a temporary ban on evictions, and a freeze of rents.