The Simon Communities in Ireland have warned that the homeless and housing crisis is deepening following the latest published emergency accommodation figures from March 2015. The March report shows that from February to March the number of adults in emergency accommodation increased by 111 whilst the number of children in emergency accommodation increased by 116 with an increase of 189 from January, representing a 22% increase.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that these latest figures show the situation is worsening for vulnerable people.
“These latest emergency accommodation figures from March are of grave concern to us and to the people we support across the country every day. These figures coupled with the latest rough sleeper count figure in Dublin last week which showed a frightening 151 people had nowhere safe to sleep on one night in April are just unacceptable. We know that every single day this crisis is deepening and the situation on the ground is worsening. More and more people are trapped in emergency accommodation with nowhere else to go.”
“It is essential that the Government does not lose sight of the ultimate goal which is to ensure that people who are homeless have access to long-term homes with the right support. We needed ongoing action to ensure that hosing is delivered to those who need it most. The biggest challenge right now is access to appropriate, affordable housing and, unless urgently addressed, more people will suffer, more people will end up homeless and the Government will fail to achieve their 2016 target. The emergency accommodation measures announced in the 20 Point Action Plan in December must only be used in the short-term and now these emergency beds must be replaced by an offer of housing and not a return to the streets.”
“The Government has committed to ending long term homelessness by 2016, using a housing first approach. A housing first or housing-led approach supports people to move out of homelessness as quickly as possible and into permanent housing with tailored support services. We know from experience that it works and people do leave homelessness behind for good. But without access to affordable housing with support, it will only fail.”
The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 people and families who experience - or are at risk of - homelessness on an annual basis.
Homelessness - the numbers
- There are currently almost 3,081 people in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, almost 1054 children. (DECLG, 2015)
· During one night in March 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City. This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 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 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork now wound down as at the end of March 31st), approx. 50 people are using the Nite Café (Dublin) each night and still there is still evidence that people are sleeping on our streets each night. (DECLG, 2015)
· In December 2014, the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.
· There are 90,000 people on the Social Housing waiting list (Housing Agency 2014)
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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.
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.