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17/09/2021

High volume of holiday makers visiting North West has created new challenge for homeless services

North West Simon Community seeks Donegal volunteers for 'Sleep out'

North West Simon Community says the high volume of holiday makers visiting Donegal, Sligo, and Leitrim at present, has created a new challenge for homeless services in the region.

Noel Daly, general manager of North West Simon Community was commenting following publication of the Monthly Homelessness Report, which shows that 93 individuals accessed Local Authority managed emergency accommodation in the North West Region during the Week of 19 to 25 July 2021.
Among the 78 households accommodated were 8 families comprising of 9 adults and 16 children, and 70 single adults.
North West Simon Community, points out that these homeless figures only relate to households that have been approved for social housing support by the local authorities.
They do not include households frequently described as the “hidden homeless” that may be sleeping rough, living in refuges, staying with parents, relatives or friends in overcrowded conditions, those who have not been approved for support by their local authority, or been unable to access emergency accommodation.
The majority of the households (71%) were provided with either Private Emergency Accommodation with visiting support or Temporary Emergency Accommodation with no (or minimal) support.
“This latest statistic means that the average number of people accommodated in emergency accommodation in the North West during a single week has increased from 43.3 in 2016 to 91.2 in 2021, and may be seen as a strong indicator that national homelessness policy is not getting us closer to ending homelessness in the region,” Mr Daly said.
Mr Daly explained that there are at best 60 Emergency Beds available in the largely rural North West region, and services depend on the availability of spare capacity in local B&B’s, hotels, and Tourist Hostels for emergency accommodation, particularly outside of Sligo Town, and Letterkenny.
The tourism industry is currently experiencing a welcome surge in staycations after the pandemic lockdown, but unfortunately this means there are very few beds available for use as temporary emergency accommodation.

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