CORK County Council continues to resist calls to establish an emergency accommodation shelter in East Cork as it says not enough people are declaring themselves as homeless.
Councillor Noel Collins (IND) has repeatedly called for a shelter to be set up in Midleton and has cited the example of families from the area having to travel to the city for emergency accommodation as hotels and B&Bs in East Cork are not accommodating homeless people.
“Each local authorities are left to adopt their own agenda in regard to homeless services,” he said.
“In Cork city and county homelessness numbers are rapidly increasing. East Cork is one of the worst areas where there are no shelters. Exorbitant rents are adding to the problem. During the summer people are sleeping under bridges and trees but this is not an option when the winter sets in,” he added.
Most homeless people from the county are housed in emergency accommodation in the city under an interagency approach by Cork city and county councils. All those registering as homeless must engage with the Department of Social Protection services in Drinan Street in the city centre.
County Hall director of housing Maurice Manning said there is no identifiable need for a specific homeless shelter in East Cork despite the councillors’ pleas.
“Funding for homeless service provision on a regional basis to the south-west local authorities in Cork City, Cork county and Kerry. Emergency facilities are in place to deal with any person who presents as homeless and the numbers of homeless presenting are recorded in each of the three areas,“ he said.
“Funding for any additional emergency homeless facility must have regard to the existing demand/need and an analysis of the numbers currently presenting does not identify the need for such an additional facility in East Cork at the present time,” he added.
Mr Collins pointed out that the Council cannot provide the “additional” shelter in East Cork as there are actually none in existence.
“I have called for this for many years. Since we never had a homeless facility in the area. I would ask the word additional be taken out of the comment from the director of housing.”
He added there are currently 800 houses in the East Cork region for social housing which is nowhere near close to demand.
The latest available figures from the Department of Housing show that there are 349 people registered as homeless in the county.