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After one year nearly half of homeless people in Cork are still in emergency accommodation

Cork Simon’s Community examined a group of 70 people at their shelter to see where they had progressed in 12 months.

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THERE IS A chronic shortage of housing and people are getting stuck in emergency accommodation for years, according to Cork’s Simon Community.

A Cork Simon Community report ‘Where Are They Now?’ shows 48% of people are stuck in emergency accommodation twelve months on.

Cork Simon’s Community examined a group of 70 people at their shelter for a five week period in the summer of 2013.

Twelve months later, 38% of the original group were housed successfully twelve months on from the original study, however almost half were still stuck in emergency accommodation.

Long-term

Those aged 18-34 and those who were long-term homeless (for longer than six months) at the time of the original study were much more likely to be still stuck in emergency accommodation twelve months later.

Comparing the two groups – those that had been housed and those that had not –  both groups had similar rates of early school leaving, of being unskilled, of long-term unemployment, poor mental health, problem alcohol use, literacy problems and learning difficulties.

Among those housed twelve months later there were higher rates of problem drug use, poor physical health and experience of the criminal justice system.

Among those still stuck in emergency accommodation twelve months later there were higher rates of having a history of psychiatric care.

Cork’s Simon Community said it is experiencing a housing crisis and a homelessness crisis at the same time with a significant increase in rough sleeping since the beginning of the year.

Sleeping rough

The number of people sleeping rough for one night or more increased by 54% in the nine months up to the end of September.

The number of people squatting in derelict buildings increased in that same time period by 63% and the number of people ‘staying with friends’ – insecure and unstable housing, increased by 31%.

Extra beds have been added to Cork Simon’s emergency shelter in an effort to respond – but no extra resources.

Making the homeless situation worse is the housing crisis in Cork, with waiting times for Local Authority housing averaging from two to six years.

Cork’s Simon said that the private rented housing is moving way beyond what people depending on Rent Supplement can afford adding that the rent supplement cap is effectively preventing people from moving out of homelessness.

Housing

“There’s a shortage of one-bedroom flats – and the quality of those that are available can quite often be appalling. Cork Simon has had just a handful of housing become available for use this year,” they said.

Dermot Kavanagh, Director of Cork Simon Community said that with the right housing and support package people are leaving homelessness behind them.

The current housing crisis is the single biggest reason people are stuck in emergency accommodation for far too long.  It’s why our shelter is literally overflowing at present – with the knock-on effect of more people ending up having to sleep rough on the street.

First published 8am

Read: ‘Emergency accommodation is just that – for emergencies, not long term’>

Read TheJournal.ie’s Homeless Ireland Series here>>>

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