Cork sees increase in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation in June

Cork sees increase in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation in June
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

In a report published by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government, 372 people were accessing local authority managed emergency accommodation during the week of June 22-28 2020.

This is an increase of one compared to the May report which showed that 371 people were accessing this type of emergency accommodation during the week of May 25-31 this year.

There has, however, been a national decrease in the number of people in Ireland accessing emergency accommodation.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, today published the Homeless Quarterly Progress Report for Quarter 2 and the Monthly Homeless Report for June 2020.

During the first six months of the year, a total of 3,033 exits from homelessness have been achieved. 

This is a 7% increase on the numbers recorded at the same point in 2019.

The monthly report for June shows that 8,699 individuals were accessing emergency accommodation in June, a reduction of 177 on the May report. 

This included 6,046 adults and 2,653 dependants. 

There were 1,159 families accessing emergency accommodation.

Commenting on the figures the Minister said:

"Despite the increase in exits from homelessness and the reduction in the numbers accessing emergency accommodation in June, the number of people and families in homelessness is simply too high.

"One of my main priorities as Minister will be to accelerate the numbers of people exiting homelessness and to reduce the time that people spend in emergency accommodation. 

"Improved delivery of social and affordable housing will be key but we will also be focusing on increasing the levels of supports to households with complex needs," he said.

The Minister noted that nationally during Quarter 2 there has been some "very good progress" in supporting households to exit from homelessness to a tenancy.

"The reductions have included a significant fall in the numbers of families experiencing homelessness, with the June figures the lowest since August 2016. 

"We need to continue to drive these numbers down," he said. 

The Minister also noted the significant challenges presented by Covid-19 during Quarter 2, and the measures taken to protect those in homelessness.

"I want to express my gratitude for the dedication and commitment shown by staff working in the local authorities, the HSE and NGO service providers.

"The strong co-operation in challenging circumstances has ensured that incidences of Covid-19 in homeless services have been relatively low. 

The Minister said he will be working closely with the Minister for Health to "ensure continued close cooperation" between the Departments, the local authorities and the HSE.

"We held a bi-lateral meeting earlier this week to discuss measures to be taken by our Departments in relation to Covid-19 and the wider need for collaboration between the two Departments to help homeless people with complex health and mental health needs," he said. 

In recognition of the fact that approximately 70% of adults in homelessness are adults, Minister O'Brien committed to securing more one-bedroom homes. 

"My Department is working with the local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to secure more properties for homeless households. 

"I recently launched a 'Call for Housing 2020', which is a new national call for property owners and developers with vacant properties to make them available for social housing. 

"As part of the July Stimulus, I have also allocated an extra €40 million to Local Authorities to refurbish homes and bring them back into the social housing stock.

"The Programme for Government gives a clear commitment to reducing and preventing instances of homelessness. It is an absolute priority for me and for my Department," concluded Minister O’Brien.

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