Homelessness Is Increasing Faster In The North West Than Any Other Region

New figures include 12 children

North West Simon Community has responded to the latest emergency accommodation figures saying it’s deeply disappointing to see that the number of people in emergency accommodation in the North West is growing faster than in any other region across Ireland.

According to the new figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the number of people in emergency accommodation in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal in April grew by 19% to 83 people including 12 children, compared to April 2019. This was the highest increase recorded across the regions in Ireland.  Nationally there was a decrease of 10% in the overall numbers.

The charity also expressed concern about the growing number of single adults in emergency accommodation, which grew by 48% to 68 people compared to 35 people in April the previous year.

“The number of single adults in emergency accommodation has increased month on month for the past year, and North West Simon Community has seen a similar trend in its own services.

“The number of single people supported in 2019 increased to 101 from 77 in 2018. In Leitrim for example, where there is no emergency accommodation centre we supported 30 single men in 2019, a 200% increase from the 10 single men supported in 2018” said Noel Daly, General Manager of North West Simon Community.

Homeless numbers in the North West are increasing

Homeless numbers in the North West are increasing

The government statistics record that only 3 families with children were in emergency accommodation during April. However, North West Simon Community believe that the reason the number is so low is the ban on evictions introduced at the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are currently supporting 5 households across the region who are under threat of immediate eviction from their homes, as soon as the ban is lifted, and it is likely that the number of families in emergency accommodation will quickly rise once more.” Noel said.

Official statistics illustrate clearly that homelessness is growing across Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim but North West Simon Community warns that the scale of the homelessness crisis in the North West is much bigger than the current statistics suggest.

According to Noel Daly, “homelessness is still very much on the increase in our community and services are being stretched to the limits to support those seeking support. Quarterly Local Authority Homelessness Performance Reports published by the Department, record that the total number of unique individuals offered emergency accommodation in the region in 2017 was 169. By the end of 2018 the number had risen to 189, and in 2019 a new high of 219 was recorded. With the number of Emergency beds available in the region remaining constant at 57 throughout the three years, services are struggling to support all those in need of help”.

North West Simon Community points out that the number of people accessing emergency accommodation is only one aspect of a complex problem. The figures released by the Government, don’t include families in refuges, direct provision, people sharing with family and friends in overcrowded circumstances, or living in cars, vans, or sleeping rough.

The Social Housing Assessment published in December 2019, identified 594 households eligible for social housing whose “current tenure” was listed as either “living with parents”, or “living with relatives/ friends”. These statistics show that there are a far higher number of people living in insecure housing in the North West Region than the monthly homeless statistics suggest”, Noel Daly said.

North West Simon Community’s services have continued to operate throughout the Coronavirus crisis.

According to Noel, “the outbreak of Covid-19 has had a huge impact on those at risk of or experiencing homelessness and has put so many already vulnerable people at increased risk. Far too many women, men, young people and children are experiencing the trauma of homelessness.

“Our committed staff on the frontline are doing whatever we can to ensure that people can remain safe, and in their own homes where possible, during this difficult time.”

(Source – Leitrim Observer – Home – Staff Reporter – 10/06/2020)

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