Tuesday 20 August 2019

Record number of homeless women in Cork Simon's emergency shelter

Campaigners have voiced concerns about the rise in homelessness
Campaigners have voiced concerns about the rise in homelessness

Ralph Riegel

Homeless people are now relying on Cork Simon's emergency shelter for 20pc more nightly accommodation than just two years ago - with the charity confirming record numbers of homeless women in 2016.

The revelation came as Cork Simon launched its 2016 annual report with the confirmation it will operate an emergency night shelter over the coming winter given the spiralling number of people seeking their services.

The report revealed that an average of 53 people per night relied on an emergency bed last year compared to 50 people in 2015 and 47 people in 2014.

People stayed in Cork Simon’s emergency shelter for an average of 54 nights per person compared to 50 nights per person in 2015 and compared to 44 nights in 2014.

Roughly 20 people accommodated per night were deemed to be long-term homeless - a startling hike of six (an increase of 30pc) on 2015 figures.

Almost one-in-four people staying in Cork Simon's emergency shelter were women - the highest percentage (22pc) ever recorded by the charity.

The day service operated by the charity in Cork supported 737 people last year, up from 666 in 2015 and 633 in 2014.

Cork Simon director, Dermot Kavanagh, said the homelessness crisis is now exerting enormous pressure on their services.

"We provided an emergency bed to record numbers of people each night last year," he said.

"Our day service has supported more people than ever before."

"The longer-term impact of the housing and homelessness crisis is now beginning to show with people remaining stuck in emergency accommodation for much longer periods of time because they simply have nowhere else to go."

Lord Mayor Councillor Tony Fitzgerald said the work being undertaken by Cork Simon has been truly incredible.

Mr Kavanagh said the crisis can only be alleviated through greater housing provision in Irish cities, towns and villages.

"28 people were newly housed last year (in Cork) - a most welcome start for 28 people," he said.

"But we clearly need much more housing if we are to get a grip on the crisis."

Cork Simon has now committed itself to increase their own housing stock by 100 units by 2019 - a target that they said is very challenging but very necessary.

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