'We’re going to have a glut of people left homeless': Cork TD raises concerns about lifting ban on evictions

'We’re going to have a glut of people left homeless': Cork TD raises concerns about lifting ban on evictions
Two homeless people sleeping rough just off the South Mall in Cork City, Ireland. - Picture David Creedon

A Cork TD has said that the lifting of the ban on evictions will see an increase in the number of people forced into homelessness both in Cork and nationally.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould raised the issue in the Dáil before it broke for summer recess.

Deputy Gould predicts that the lifting of the embargo on people being evicted from their homes “will see an increase in homeless figures both in Cork and nationally” in the months leading up to Christmas.

“We’re going to have a glut of people left homeless between now and Christmas because eviction notices are starting to kick in again,” he said.

He said that despite “the big call from public health professionals” being to maintain social distancing, that the new laws on evictions passed by the Government will result in “people moving back in with family and friends and into homeless shelters which means that you're going to have an increase in people not social distancing and being in each others company which is contrary to the public health advice”.

“We have a housing minister going against health professionals,” he said.

Deputy Gould is calling for the ban on evictions to be extended “at least until the end of the year if not until March” in order to give people “security of their tenure which will stop them from worrying”.

His comments come as new figures show an increase in the number of people reported as homeless in Cork.

According to the figures recently published by the Department of Housing, 377 adults were reported as homeless in Cork during the week of 20-26 July 2020.

The figure is an increase on the previous month.

During the week of 22-28 June 2020, 372 adults were reported as homeless in Cork.

Overall, 514 adults in the South-West region, which comprises Cork and Kerry, were described as homeless last month.

This figure included 345 men and 169 women.

Paul Sheehan of Cork Simon Community said that a concerning finding from the July figures is that the number of single adults in emergency accommodation has increased.

“The number of single adults has increased fairly significantly. There’s a lot done to get families to exit homelessness but it is concerning to see the number of single adults increasing.

“When you look at the figures from July 2019 to July 2920 that figure is up 19%. So that is something that is of concern. We’ve always been conscious that single men in particular, but single people especially, are on the bottom rung of the ladder when it comes to exiting homelessness.” 

Mr Sheehan said that the fact that figures have increased is “concerning heading into the winter months” and that the lifting of the eviction ban would “most likely see people being pushed to the very limit and being pushed into homelessness”.

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