Galway Simon Community has said that the number of people at risk of homelessness in the West is continuing to rise.
The charity says rents across the region are continuing to spiral upwards, putting significant pressure on many middle and low income households in the private rental market.
According to last week’s Daft.ie report, the surge in rents in the first half of 2021 means that the cost of renting in Connacht-Ulster is now 18.8% higher than a year ago – the strongest rate of inflation on record back to 2006.
They also reported the lowest supply on record since 2006 in Connacht/Ulster, with just 172 homes available to rent on the 1 November 2021, 71% less than the pre-Covid average.
Average rents showed a further increase on the last quarter, with average rent in Galway City and County now standing at record highs of €1,475 and €878 respectively.
Over the past five years, average rents across the West have seen dramatic increases of 53% in Galway City, 69% in Galway County, 52% in Mayo and 53% in Roscommon.
At the same time, the number of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness has increased, with one of the main drivers being the lack of affordable accommodation available within the private rental sector.
Over the last five years, there has been a 93% increase in the number of people living in emergency accommodation across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.
Galway Simon Community say they have also seen an increasing number of people turning to their services for help during this time due to the lack of affordable and social housing available within the community.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community shared concerns about the impact of increasing rents over the coming months.
“It is clear the affordability crisis in the housing sector has reached a new peak as highlighted in the latest Daft.ie Rental Report,” Karen said.
“The private rental sector is simply out of reach for many of the people Galway Simon support, and countless others who are on middle and low incomes. With a severe lack of social housing in our community, many have nowhere else to turn.”
She said that so far this year, Galway Simon has seen a 26% increase in the number of people it is supporting compared to the same period last year.
“Our frontline staff are working hard to support as many people as possible who are in crisis.
“We are very concerned about the seemingly relentless increases in rents and the impact this will continue to have on people in our local community in the coming months.
“We must redouble our collective efforts to ensure that preventing homelessness is a top priority.
“It is essential that people have somewhere to call home to ensure their safety and wellbeing, especially during a global pandemic.”