Galway’s rate of homelessness increased by 6% last month as nationwide figures hit an all-time high.
Figures released by the Department of Housing show that 257 adults are now registered as homeless in Galway city and county compared to 243 in July. This gives Galway the fourth-highest rate of homelessness in the country after Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
This came just days after Budget 2022 was revealed in which several measures regarding housing were announced such as a €500 tax credit for renters who are not on State housing supports, an extension of the Help-to-Buy scheme and a vacant property tax.
COPE Galway, an NGO which provides assistance to women seeking emergency accommodation, said that the budget “will be seen as a missed opportunity to address the growing homelessness crisis” on their official Twitter account, adding that it contained “nothing to prevent more people becoming homeless”.
According to data published by the Galway branch of the Simon Community in August of this year, 494 people in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon are currently availing of emergency accommodation; a 20% or 82-person increase on last year’s figures.
Paula Freney, a project worker at COPE Galway, said that homelessness in Galway affects women of an immigrant background disproportionately because “where an Irish person might be able to fall back on family or other connections, immigrant women don’t have that option”.
She said that her workplace has twelve available beds at any given time and at present, “eight of the twelve are (being used by) immigrant women” but added that “that’s very subjective to our circumstances (week to week)”.
Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Communications at the Simon Community, said that “the burden of the housing and inflation crisis weighs on the shoulders of those least able to bear it” and called on the State to “step up the supports for those on the lowest incomes and those in the most acute housing need”.
The number of people homeless in Ireland overall reached a record-level of 10,805 people; a 237-person increase from July.