Cork Simon looking to add extra homeless beds

Cork Simon looking to add extra homeless beds
Cork Simon on Anderson's Quay. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Cork Simon is looking into the possibility of opening additional emergency beds to cope with the demand for their services.

Cork Simon Campaigns and Communications Manager Paul Sheehan said it was not something they want to do as it was not a solution to the problem, but it was being looked at in order to cope with the increasing numbers of homeless people coming to their door.

At present, the centre has 47 beds and 18 mattresses that are fully occupied on a nightly basis, but Mr Sheehan said more beds are required to meet the demand.

The centre is currently assessing the feasibility of the proposal and analysing whether or not it is possible to open more beds.

Mr Sheehan said in terms of solving the crisis, what is needed is more housing to reduce rents and to make an impact on the rising homeless figures.

His comments come as the Department of Housing released the latest homelessness figures for January which shows that the number of adults in emergency accommodation in Cork is 394 people, up another 6% in one month and 33% over 12 months.

The figures also showed that in Cork and Kerry, the number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation was 797 people, another record high.

While the number of families in Emergency Accommodation fell during December, they rose again in January, with 108 families recorded, a rise of 71% over 12 months.

Mr Sheehans said the figures usually drop a little in December as families stay with relatives over the Christmas period.

Once again, the number of people in private emergency accommodation (PEA) such as hotel rooms and B&B’s outstripped the number of people in Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA), that being emergency shelters and hostels.

According to Mr Sheehan, this indicates that the need for emergency accommodation far outstrips capacity.

“Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy released a statement saying that the figures were 'disappointing'.

“They are far beyond disappointing, these are alarming increases,” Mr Sheehan said.

“We are a few months from the third anniversary of Rebuilding Ireland which was meant to tackle the housing crisis and the figures have been increasing steadily since.”

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