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Rental Price report illustrates the stark situation in Galway for those facing homelessness

9th May 2017

The publication this week of the Daft.ie Rental Price Report for the first quarter of 2017 is a further stark reminder, if one is needed, of the enormous challenges faced by those seeking housing in Galway City.  With asking rents reported as having gone up by 10.6% in the twelve months to the end of March 2017 and an acute shortage of supply of rental housing available, not to mind affordable rental housing, it is not surprising according to COPE Galway that homelessness is on the increase in Galway City. 

“It’s a stark situation we’re facing in Galway City”, says Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway. “Just in the past week COPE Galway staff came across 17 people sleeping rough in the city centre area in the early hours of one morning. We provided a further 6 people with sleeping bags the previous night when we didn’t have space to accommodate them, as both our emergency accommodation hostels at Fairgreen and Osterley Lodge were full.  This meant that at least 23 people slept rough in Galway City on that night.  On the same night over 30 city families were staying in emergency accommodation in Galway.  And that wasn’t an exceptional night”.

Services in Galway involved in responding to homelessness are struggling to keep pace with the level of demand they are currently experiencing, according to Mr O’Connor:  “We are now facing challenges on a range of fronts. We are devoting an ever increasing amount of time and energy to meeting the emergency accommodation needs of people who become homeless, while we are also working to try to prevent others’ situations from getting to that stage.  For example we currently have 18 families in contact with us who have received notice to quit from their homes in the private rented sector. Then there are the individuals and families currently in various forms of emergency and transitional accommodation who we are supporting in their efforts to get a home”. 

“Ronan Lyons stated in the Daft.ie report that the message from the rental market to policy makers is that more supply is needed. This has to be acted on – and quickly, if the growth in homelessness is to be stemmed and the plight of those families and individuals who find themselves trapped in homelessness is to be addressed”.   

There have been some encouraging small steps towards solutions.  From May 1st 2016 to March 31st 2017, 125 households (53 families and 72 singles) moved into some form of more appropriate housing – 45 secured private rented accommodation, 24 moved into tenancies with a housing association, 20 secured a local authority house or apartment, 36 moved into a more suitable form of supported or transitional housing. However, the housing crisis remains very challenging in Galway City and County with family homelessness being especially challenging to address.

Any offers of accommodation at a rent level within current state subsidies can be directed to Martin O’Connor at 091 778 750.

Ends

Note to Editor:

COPE Galway is a local Galway Organisation whose vision is an “Improved Quality of Life in a Home of your Own” for people affected by homelessness, women and children experiencing domestic violence, and older people.

In 2016 COPE Galway worked with 649 households presenting with issues relating to homelessness. 438 of these were single person households and 211 were families. Homelessness remains at crisis levels in Galway and the number of families becoming homeless continues to increase (up 27% on 2015).

Contact:       Martin O Connor, Assistant CEO.              Tel: 091 778 750

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