'We can't let people pass away on our streets': Cork homeless figures described as 'frightening' 

'We can't let people pass away on our streets': Cork homeless figures described as 'frightening' 

Catriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners said the homeless numbers don’t come as a surprise to her. Picture Dan Linehan

A total of 413 people were reported homeless in Cork city and county during the week of July 19 to July 25, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The Department’s official homelessness statistics are published on a monthly basis and refer to the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded by housing authorities on generally the last full week of the month.

Catriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners said the numbers don’t come as a surprise to her.

“The numbers don’t come as any surprise. The numbers have hugely increased and we see it all the time. There are a load of new faces coming to us. There are a few more that nobody knows anything about, who are trying to keep their head above water any way they can,” she said.

The number of adults accessing local authority managed emergency accommodation during that specific week in late July in the South West region which includes all of Cork and Kerry was 492. From this total figure, 347 were male and 145 were female.

Some 61 people were aged between 18 and 24. 275 people were aged between 25 and 44, while 138 people were aged between 45 and 64. Eighteen of the homeless people were over 65 years of age.

A further breakdown of the data shows that 328 were in Private Emergency Accommodation and 167 in Supported Temporary Accommodation in the South West area. The total number of homeless families for the South West region during that week was 52. The total number of adults was 64 and there were 103 total child dependents.

Ms Twomey said the latest published report is a worry. 

“Is this going to be the trend coming into the winter? We have to be very careful and we can’t let people pass away on our streets. It is a worry. We have men, women, and children coming to us every day. It is very frightening.

“I feel very sorry for the families who are stuck in bed and breakfasts and hotels who are facing another school year. It is very hard and especially hard on the children. Why are families put and left in this position?” she added.

The Penny Dinners co-ordinator said there are plenty of vacant buildings in Cork that could be used to accommodate homeless people as a short-term measure. 

“We have plenty of vacant buildings which could be renovated. People just need a bit of help to get them back on their feet. We need to eradicate poverty, homelessness, and mental health problems from society.”

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