Fears easing of Covid restrictions could lead to increase in homelessness in Cork 

Fears easing of Covid restrictions could lead to increase in homelessness in Cork 

According to the latest figures published by the Department of Housing, a total of 413 people were reported homeless in Cork city and county during the week of 19 July to 25 July. Pic; Larry Cummins

There are concerns that the lifting of restrictions and pandemic protections related to Covid-19 could lead to an increase in homelessness in Cork. 

Campaigns and Communications Manager at Cork Simon, Paul Sheehan said that when restrictions were eased last year, they witnessed an increase in new presentations of people who were homeless. 

They are now fearful that as restrictions are lifted, this could happen again. 

“Last year when the restrictions were lifted for a short period of time over the summer we saw an increase -it was a small, but it was a steady increase in new presentations for homeless,” he said.

“That fell back again, and the restrictions kicked in so we would be very concerned when those are lifted, we will see an increase again in the number of new presentations," he added. 

The comments from Mr Sheehan came after new research noted a “real risk” that levels of homelessness will rise following the lifting of pandemic protections and due to the restriction on construction activity which limited housing supply.

The “Monitoring Adequate Housing in Ireland” report, published by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) also showed that lone parents and their children account for 53 per cent of all homeless families, and are much more likely to experience poor housing.

It found less than 25 per cent of lone parents reported home-ownership, compared with 70 per cent of total population.

Lone parents also had higher rates of affordability issues (19%) when compared to the general population (5%).

In addition, lone parents were found to be particularly vulnerable to housing quality problems such as damp and lack of central heating with 32% reporting such issues compared to 22% of total population.

The report also highlights the disadvantages experienced by young people, migrants, people with disabilities, Travellers and others in the Irish housing system.

Speaking on the findings in relation to lone parents and children accounting for over half of homeless families, Mr Sheehan said it was, unfortunately, “no surprise”.

“If you think about it, the cost of housing, you have got one income coming into the household with a lone parent and the financial pressures would be extraordinary to say the least.

“What was also interesting is that a higher percentage of lone parents would be living in rental accommodation and that’s really where the price pressures are at the moment.” 

According to the latest figures published by the Department of Housing, a total of 413 people were reported homeless in Cork city and county during the week of 19 July to 25 July.

The total number of homeless families for the South West region during that week was 52 with 103 total child dependents.

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