Shocking rise in homelessness figures across West “deeply frustrating”

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Galway Daily news COPE Galway supported over 2,600 people in 2020

Galway Simon Community has described as ‘deeply frustrating’ new figures which see the number of people in emergency accommodation nationally pass the 10,000 mark with further significant increases in the West of Ireland.

According to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s figures, 556 people were in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland in February, representing a 39% increase on the same period last year.

These numbers included 79 families with 201 children.

Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community explained the disappointment around these figures and why prevention needs to be the focus of the government.

“It is deeply frustrating to see the emergency accommodation numbers continue to increase month on month; with more and more people being affected by homelessness and having their lives turned upside down.

“The number of people in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland in February increased by 39% compared to the same period last year – this is 8 times the rate of the national increase,” Karen said.

“Just last week, Minister Eoghan Murphy spoke on Morning Ireland from Galway and recognised that the homeless figures do not represent the full extent of the crisis.

Mr Murphy went on to say that it was inappropriate to compare the situation of those in living emergency accommodation to those living in other forms of homelessness such as sofa surfing or overcrowding.

If we were to include those who are sometimes referred to as the ‘hidden homeless’ – those who are sleeping rough, involuntarily sharing or living in domestic refuges – the homelessness figures would be much higher,” she added.

Galway Simon Community says there are over 350 adults and 200 children are living in emergency accommodation in the West, and called for more housing to be built across all tenure types.