No room at the inn — ‘appalling end to 2018’

No room at the inn — ‘appalling end to 2018’
Two homeless people sleeping rough just off the South Mall in Cork City, Ireland. - Picture David Creedon

AN APPALLING end to 2018 is how Cork Simon Campaigns and Communications manager Paul Sheehan has described the latest emergency accommodation figures released by the Government for November.

The figures revealed that there was a record number of adults in emergency accommodation in Cork during November 2018, with a total of 363 adults, up 22% in 12 months (298) and up 45% in two years (250).

Mr Sheehan said that emergency shelters around the city are beyond full capacity.

“There are more people staying in hotel rooms and B&B’s on an emergency basis than ever before. It’s no way for anyone to spend Christmas – cramped, overcrowded conditions, knowing little of what fate to expect as we head into a New Year,” he said.

According to the figures, there was also a record number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation in the South West (Cork & Kerry) in November 2018.

793 men, women and children were in emergency accommodation, up 46% in 12 months (544) and up 103% in two years (391).

Mr Sheehan said we need to take a serious look at housing across all sectors. “Our housing system is clearly not fit for purpose. Without adequate affordable housing, the record number of people now stuck in emergency shelters and cramped hotel and B&B rooms will be severely challenged in leaving homelessness behind them. People simply cannot find a place they can afford to call home.

“Housing is a basic need, the Government needs to start looking at housing as such, we need to treat housing as a basic human right.”

The number of women in emergency accommodation in the South West (Cork & Kerry) exceeded 200 for the first time, with 211 women, up 59% in 12 months (133) and up 134% in two years (90).

There was also a record number of families in emergency accommodation in the South West (Cork & Kerry) in November 2018 with 120 families, up 79% in 12 months (63) and up 233% - more than trebled – in two years (41).

Mr Sheehan said the Government needs to start treating the rising figures with the urgency needed.

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