The rising problem of regional homelessness will be the focus of a major one-day conference in Cork today.
Details of two new projects which are helping to prevent homelessness in Cork and Limerick will also be outlined at the event, organised by University College Cork’s School of Applied Social Studies.
Academics and experts from England and Denmark, as well as key figures working in homelessness agencies here, are among those due to address the policy conference on homelessness and housing exclusion.
Conference organiser Joe Finnerty, a lecturer in UCC’s School of Applied Social Studies, said a notable feature of the event will be its focus on homelessness trends in the south-west.
“These do not necessarily mirror experiences and trends in Dublin which has been the focus of most popular and academic commentary to date,” he said.
The conference will focus on what causes homelessness and housing exclusion, and will examine the State’s policy on prevention, on emergency response, and on provision of accommodation.
It will be addressed by Lars Benjaminsen from the Danish National Centre for Social Research in Copenhagen and by Beth Watts of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, who will discuss how the issues have been addressed at a national level in Denmark and England, and how Ireland can learn from their experiences.
The conference will also hear from Irish agency, Threshold, which has rolled out a new tenancy protection service in Cork in recent months. The agency now mediates between tenants, landlords, and the Department of Social Protection to secure temporary increases in rent supplement to keep families at risk of homelessness in their rented homes.
Focus Ireland is also expected to outline details of a project in Limerick which provides short-term accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness.
The event, which takes place in the Cork Arts Theatre on Carroll’s Quay, is being funded by Cork City Council, Cork Simon Community, and the School of Applied Social Studies, with support from Adult Continuing Education UCC, and the Cork Education and Training Board.
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