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“Without provision of additional social housing we are simply at nothing”

22nd August 2017

REPORT SHOWS ACUTE SHORTAGE OF PRIVATE RENTAL ACCOMMODATION

“Without provision of additional social housing we are simply at nothing” says COPE Galway

COPE Galway has today highlighted the need for additional social housing and for vacant properties in the city to be brought back into use. This is in light of the findings of the Daft.ie Rental Price Report for the second quarter of 2017 which shows a 10% increase in rent levels for Galway City in the past 12 months. 

The local charity says that homeless services are struggling to address the unprecedented homelessness crisis in the city which is most evident with the growth in rough sleeping over recent months and which is resulting in the growing numbers of families and individuals who become homeless remaining in emergency accommodation for extended periods of time.  COPE Galway reports that there are currently 46 families, 4 couples and 42 single person households in emergency accommodation. A further 15 people, who were rough sleeping, presented seeking assistance on Monday of this week alone. 

“It’s very clear to us the private rental market does not offer a solution to the crisis we are struggling to deal with” says COPE Galway’s Martin O’Connor.  “This Daft.ie rental report which highlights the chronic shortage of supply and ever increasing rent levels in Galway is further proof, if proof were needed, that the private rental market is in serious difficulty and that those most negatively impacted on are families and individuals who cannot afford the rents being asked for.  Without the provision of additional social housing we are simply at nothing”. 

Mr O’Connor went on to welcome recent Government policy initiatives to bring vacant properties back into use as something which also offers hope for the many people at risk of and experiencing homelessness.  “At a time of shortage it is vital that housing stock in the city is utilised to the fullest extent possible and measures incentivising property owners to put vacant units into use and taxes to penalise them for not doing so are required.”

COPE Galway is concerned that the situation may deteriorate even further into the autumn time.  “While the Daft.ie report highlights the increasing cost of rent up to the end of June as well as the lack of properties available for rent nationwide on August 1st  , there is now the added pressure of new and returning students looking for accommodation for September which is making the situation much more challenging in Galway City” said Mr O’Connor.  

In a recent pre-budget submission to Minister Paschal O’Donohoe, COPE Galway highlighted the need for Government to provide more resources to local housing authorities and to approved housing bodies so that they are better placed to build the new social housing that is so necessary to addressing the needs of people who are homeless.  “The Government has an opportunity in Budget 2018 to take the necessary steps to speed up the building of additional social housing.  This has to be a priority”, said O’Connor. 

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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