Galway Simon Community has revealed the significant number of people seeking their support during the pandemic in 2020 and warned of the challenges that lie ahead in the coming year.
While Galway Simon welcomed the decrease in the number of people living in Emergency Accommodation, they also warned that there is no room for complacency.
The charity expressed deep concern about what will happen later in the year as the moratorium on evictions is lifted, and the true impact of the economic fallout from Covid unfolds.
According to the latest figures released by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, 357 people including 46 families with 105 children were recorded as living in Emergency Accommodation in the West of Ireland during November.
This is a decrease of 11 people, including 4 families, on the previous month.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community said the decrease in the number of people living in Emergency Accommodation across the West during 2020 was extremely welcome.
However, there was no drop in the number of people seeking help from Galway Simon Community.
“We continue to work with people who are in very uncertain circumstances in relation to having somewhere to call home,” said Karen.
“Issues that have been deferred while the moratorium on evictions is in place will not be resolved until there is more housing available.
“Every day we are acutely aware of the stress people are under, their fears and uncertainty because of their lack of housing security.”
Between January and November 2020, Galway Simon Community supported 614 households, including 681 adults and 416 children, which the charity says is similar to the previous year.
Karen Golden said that there was so much positive work done across the organisation in 2020 against the backdrop of Covid-19.
“We supported over 100 households to move into homes of their own, we prevented hundreds of individuals and children from experiencing homelessness, and we worked incredibly hard to keep our clients safe throughout a global pandemic,” she said.
“We are extremely grateful to our volunteers, supporters and funders who enabled us to respond to the needs of people who are very vulnerable, some of whom have lived lives blighted by trauma and adversity.
“In this week of the publication of the report on the Mother and Baby Homes, we are very conscious of the people who Galway Simon have worked with who have led very difficult lives because they were born into such desperate circumstances.”
During this third wave of Covid-19, the charity said they are continuing to focus their efforts on keeping their clients safe and ensuring that they can prevent people from having to enter emergency accommodation and homeless services.
“Now more than ever, it is essential that people have somewhere to call home, to ensure their safety and wellbeing”, added Karen.