The number of families in emergency accommodation in the West of Ireland has more than doubled in the past year.
There were 81 families with 179 children who spent the Christmas period living in emergency accommodation according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.
That’s more than twice the number in December 2017 when there 39 families with 130 children in emergency accommodation.
Karen Golden CEO of the Galway Simon Community said that the skyrocketing number are a disturbing trend.
“What is most alarming about these figures is that they continue to double year on year,” she said adding that in December 2016 that figure stood at just 18 families.
“We would hate to think that we could have 160 families in emergency accommodation by Christmas 2019.”
Galway Simon saw an incredible demand on its services as more and more people face homelessness, or cannot find a new place to live.
“With the availability of safe and affordable housing continuing to diminish, it is increasingly difficult to support clients to find suitable accommodation so that they can move out of homelessness,” Karen Golden said.
She added that that the shortage of housing stock, particularly affordable and social housing, is not being addressed urgently enough by the government to tackle this crisis.
“The Government target for new social housing builds in Galway was 160 for 2018. Up until September, only 37 new social homes had been completed.”
“With 3,547 households on the social housing waiting list in Galway, this is totally inadequate.”
Over the past year the Galway Simon Community has supported supported 550 households, including 132 families with 292 children through homelessness prevention and housing services.
The group expects 2019 to be even more challenging as the homelessness crisis continues to deteriorate.
“Behind each of these numbers is a human story, a person experiencing the trauma of homelessness or the threat of homelessness,” said Karen Golden.
“With pressure in housing continuing to increase in Galway, we will continue to support those who seek our help in the coming year.”