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370% increase in demand for homeless organisation's services since 2010

Novas supported 4,572 people in 2017, an increase of 29% from the previous year.

File photo
File photo
Image: Leon Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A HOMELESS ORGANISATION has said it has experienced a 370% increase in demand for its services since 2010, reflecting the extent of the national crisis. 

In its annual report released today, the organisation Novas said that it supported 4,572 people in 2017, an increase of 29% from the previous year. 

Novas is a voluntary organisation and Approved Housing Body working with families and single adults who are disadvantaged and socially excluded – primarily those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

Novas provides services in Limerick, Dublin, Kerry, Tipperary, Clare and Cork. 

It said that while in all its services, demand exceeded capacity, the significant pressure points related to the increase in single adults seeking accommodation and the number of families who presented as homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

Latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 5,834 adults and 3,693 children in emergency accommodation in Ireland during the recorded period in August – a total of 9,527 people.

Last year, Novas worked with 716 children, the largest number the organistion has worked with to date. Some 450 of these were through its family support service in Limerick, while the others were via services in west Cork, Tipperary and Dublin. 

Una Burns, head of policy and communications with Novas, explained that the organisation provided support to families in a number of ways. 

“We acquire long-term housing in the community that is tenanted by formerly homeless families. We also advocate for families to landlords, local authorities and other approved housing bodies,” Burns said. 

“The support we provided to families living in B&B accommodation helps them maintain a routine and reduce the trauma experienced by children who are homeless,” she said. 

Novas has said that significant rough sleeping in Limerick has been avoided through the development of a Temporary Emergency Provision (TEP), a joint initiative between the organsation and Limerick City and County Council.

Last year, there were more than 7,500 referrals to TEP and Burns said the “majority were able to access accommodation”.

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