16 emergency beds in Cork county is not enough

16 emergency beds in Cork county is not enough

Cork County Hall currently has funding just 16 emergency accommodation beds. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

CORK County Council provides funding for just 16 emergency accommodation beds but councillors have warned they are struggling to find anywhere for homeless families to go.

Following a request from Douglas-based councillor, Joe Harris (SD), the local authority revealed it is currently funding just 10 beds at the Westgate Foundation in Ballincollig and six at Fellowship House in Togher.

Fears have been raised that homeless people are having to travel to the city for accommodation and then return to their own towns and villages to take kids to school on a daily basis.

According to the latest available figures on homelessness, there were 26 families registered as homeless with housing applications lodged with the County Council in March — up from 11 in February.

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 HSE services in Drinan Street in the city.

East Cork councillor Danielle Twomey (SF) said she, and voluntary homeless agencies, are finding it increasingly difficult to get people into hotels and B&Bs in the county and more emergency beds and shelters are needed in rural areas.

“The main problem I find is that we can’t find anywhere to house people in either emergency or non-emergency accommodation. The hotels won’t take them, the B&Bs won’t take them. Sixteen beds are not enough for the problem that we have,” she added.

Mr Harris said he would like if councillors could be allowed to engage with the sustainment officers to reduce the numbers of homeless families.

“The beds available at the moment would only allow for a couple of families. I’m concerned about the condition of the emergency accommodation and also the security aspect for families,” he added.

Councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla (IND) said the true number of homeless families is likely to be higher with several not even registered due to the “intimidating” experience having to present at Drinan St.

“Homeless people are being treated with utter disdain officially. Quoting just 26 homeless people would even belie their existence,” he said.

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