One extra family per week ends up homeless in Galway

Galway Advertiser, Thu, Jun 30, 2022

Every week sees an extra family end up homeless and dependant on emergency accommodation in Galway, according to COPE Galway.

The charity told the Galway Advertiser this week that they saw 24 additional families entering homelessness across Galway City and County in the first five months of 2022. In their quarterly one-day census, conducted on June 21, the longest day of the year, findings have also shown that there are 84 families including 217 children living in emergency accommodation, a 24 per cent increase compared to same date last year.

COPE Galway is high2lighting the situation locally in Galway in response to the latest national figures for May 2022, which report numbers of homeless exceeding 10,000 for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Unfortunately we are fast approaching the high levels of family homelessness we saw locally pre-pandemic,” stated Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway. “In early 2020, there were over 100 families living in emergency accommodation here in Galway. The measures introduced at that point, such as a moratorium on evictions, meant the tap was largely turned off in terms of the numbers coming into homelessness. By March 2021, we were accommodating and supporting a much-decreased number of 65 families.’

“The numbers started to climb after the lifting of the moratorium on evictions in April 2021,” continued Mr O’Connor. “Fortunately, additional social housing coming on stream over the past 12 months has ensured that some families have left emergency accommodation, but this simply isn’t keeping pace with increasing evictions from the private rented sector.”

COPE Galway points to an acute shortage of available affordable rental accommodation in Galway as one of the main contributing factors to increasing homelessness. This shortage also increases the length of time people remain in emergency accommodation when they become homeless.

“Within the context of the increasing numbers homeless in our city and county, we also see that rents in Galway City increased by 13.8 per cent, according to the most recently published rental report for Q1 2022 and just this week the CSO’s preliminary findings of April 3rd 2022 national census shows some 38 per cent of rental properties vacant in Galway City. This vacancy level in the middle of a homelessness crisis is simply beyond belief,’ said Mr O’Connor.

COPE Galway is calling for immediate action to arrest this increase in homelessness including;

· An immediate ban on evictions

· Steps taken towards ensuring that vacant properties are brought back into use

· Action taken against the persistent and unsustainable use of so many homes as short-term lets in Galway.

‘While the only long term and sustainable solution to this crisis is the provision of new additional social housing, these are measures we can take now to alleviate the wholly unacceptable situation where so many children in our community are spending part of their formative years living in -homelessness’. – One extra family per week ends up homeless in Galway


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