The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that the latest nationwide emergency accommodation figures released by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government today show that the homeless and housing crisis is continuing to worsen with no real solutions on the horizon to meet growing need. The figures show further increases in adults, families and children who are stuck in emergency accommodation. The figure is now over 5,101 including 3,463 adults, 774 families with 1,638 children. This reflects a 93% increase in family homelessness and a 16% increase homelessness amongst adults since January 2015.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that the fact that the numbers of people in emergency accommodation is continuing to rise is unacceptable.
“These latest nationwide emergency accommodation figures from October highlight the growing movement of more and more people from housing into homelessness. This is completely unacceptable, people deserve so much better. The solutions to this crisis are to support people to stay in the homes they have and the provision of affordable housing with support. This Housing First approach works and it transforms the lives of people who are living in hostels, hotels and B&Bs; trying to get their children to school, trying to get homework done and meals cooked all in one small room. The trauma of this and the stress for those sharing dormitory style accommodation or those who only have the guarantee of a bed for only one night can have a long lasting impact.”
“The Simon Communities all across Ireland are seeing the impact of the housing and homelessness crisis which is worsening every single day. What we need is quick and urgent access to housing – the State must make better use of existing empty state properties and local authority homes. This crisis is impacting on men, women and children every day. We need to move away from emergency led responses, we can’t just keep offering people short term solutions with little attention paid to their longer term needs.”
“There simply must be an increase in Rent Supplement, the current limits are pushing people into homelessness. Now that there is some rent stability for the private rented sector, meaning that rents are guaranteed for two years before there can be another rent increase, it is the right time to finally raise Rent Supplement limits and help people to remain in their homes where possible. The gap between these payments and market rents is continuing to grow. 92% of properties on the market are outside of the reach of people on state rent support.There are currently 5,101 men, woman and children trapped in emergency accommodation with no prospect of a home any time soon.”
The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 7,500 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
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Homelessness - the numbers
• There are currently 5,101 men, women and children in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, 774 families with 1638 children, and 2,420 single people. (DECLG, October 2015)
• During one night in November 2015, there were 152 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City. This included 91 people sleeping rough and 61 people sheltering at the Nite Café. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. (DRHE 2015) Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).
• In December 2015 the Simon Communities reported a 20% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help.
• 1,111 people accessed Simon Communities emergency accommodation in four regions over the year.
• 1,704 people were supported in housing across the country with support appropriate to their needs.
• 1,376 people accessed prevention and early intervention services.
• 2,070 people accessed specialist treatment and support services including health care, counselling and drug/alcohol treatment.
• 1, 766 people accessed education, training and employment services.
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years. The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 7,500 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie
Services range from
• Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
• Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
• Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
• Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.