Call to collect statistics on homeless deaths following two Cork incidents

Call to collect statistics on homeless deaths following two Cork incidents

THE deaths of two men who were staying in emergency accommodation in the city have sparked calls for official statistics to be collected on homeless deaths in Cork.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul’s (SVP) south-west regional coordinator Gerry Garvey confirmed to the Evening Echo that two service users of St Vincent’s Hostel had passed away in the last fortnight– one was found dead on-site and the other person passed away while outside the hostel.

Mr Garvey said staff at the 76-unit hostel on Anglesea Terrace are right on the frontline of the homelessness crisis and are doing their best to provide services.

However, there are fears the impact of the homeless crisis could heighten once winter sets in.

“This reflects the acute level of people they are dealing with particularly in St Vincent’s. The hostel is very much a the coalface, unfortunately.

“They are doing their best to provide the support they can,” said Mr Garvey.

“We can confirm there were two deaths over a two-week period which is unusual.

“It’s a sad reality and we are still in summertime. Winter initiatives will be coming in but it looks like this is par for the course, unfortunately,” he added.

In July, Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners spoke of her shock of the deaths of four men who used the charity’s services at Little Hannover Street, all in the space of a week.

County Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, who has led several protests outside City Hall with the Housing Action Group, calling for action on homelessness from central Government and who was successful in asking County Hall to declare the homelessness crisis an “emergency” in February, wants a ‘homelessness oversight group’ comprised of city and county councillors to be set up.

He believes statistics should be collated on the deaths of people in emergency accommodation.

“What strikes me is that people are losing their lives, and homeless people in particular, and there is no log or recording of this,” he said.

“If this is going on, the public need to know about it because how are we going to respond. People are in that level of crisis and we should be responding.”

Government figures for July show that 328 adults were homeless in Cork, an increase of 32% in 12 months.

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