RECORD HOMELESSNESS PROMPTS NORTH WEST SIMON PLEA TO TDs
Following the announcement of record homeless numbers for the region, North West Simon Community says homeless services need significantly increased funding and the charity will be appealing to local TDs of all political persuasions to lobby the Government on this matter.
Noel Daly, CEO of North West Simon Community, says “We have had a huge jump in the number of child dependents (22) in emergency accommodation and a record number of people overall (106) in the North West during July 2022. The existing resources simply aren’t sufficient to ensure every household receives the support needed to exit homelessness. We will be writing to all local TDs to appeal for their support over the next week, in the hope that they will all pull together at this crucial time”.
The Department of Housing’s Monthly Homelessness Report for July 2022, shows that 106 individuals including 22 child dependents were provided with Local Authority-managed emergency accommodation in counties Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo, during the Week of 20-26 July 2022. This is the highest level of official homelessness ever recorded in the region, but Noel Daly, says these statistics still don’t show the full extent of the crisis. Government homeless statistics relate only to households provided with emergency accommodation by the local authorities. They do not include households frequently described as the “hidden homeless” that may be sleeping rough, living in refuges, households sharing with parents, relatives, and friends in overcrowded conditions, and those not approved for emergency accommodation.
The 80 homeless households provided with emergency accommodation comprised 69 single adults and 11 families, made up of 15 adults and 22 children. The overall statistics represent an 8.1% increase month on month (98 people in June 2022) and an increase of 13.97% year on year (93 people in July 2021), while the number of children homeless is a massive 29.11% increase year on year.
The Monthly homeless statistics also show that 51 households were accommodated in Sligo, and 33 households were accommodated in Donegal/Leitrim. In terms of support to deal with their homelessness, 43% (36 households) were provided with Supported Temporary Accommodation in facilities that employ social care staff, while 57% (48 households) were provided Private Emergency Accommodation with visiting support, or Temporary Emergency Accommodation with no (or minimal) support, in B&B’s, Hostels, and Hotels.
“The majority of people experiencing homelessness do not receive day-to-day support to deal with their personal housing crisis, because the current level of funding to support the work of the Community and Voluntary Bodies and the Local Authorities is grossly inadequate. A new Homeless Action Plan is being developed for the region at present but the instruction from the Department of Housing is that any services developed as part of the plan must be provided in the context of “existing resources”. The Government didn’t make any specific provision for extra resources for the homeless community and voluntary sector in its housing strategy Housing for All, and it is patently obvious that existing resources are not sufficient. Charities are heavily reliant on public donations to pay for day-to-day operating costs, while poorly funded local authorities that have to pay 10% of the cost of any new services developed are faced with the prospect of cutbacks in other services if homelessness expenditure is increased”.
The CEO of North West Simon Community says there is a window of opportunity for the TDs from the North West Region to come together and lobby the Government to ensure there is specific provision for the full funding of homeless services in the North West Region to be included in the forthcoming budget. We hope and trust that the politicians will respond to our call for their support at this crucial point so that the need for households to access homeless emergency accommodation is ended as soon as possible.