Homeless services spending up by 24% in the south-west

One of the rooms at Edel House, which received €222,000.

Spending on homeless services in the south-westrose 24% last year to over €7.4m as the region’s housing crisis deepened.

Figures published by the Department of Housing show €7,406,873 was spent on an array of supports to tackle the problem of homelessness in Cork and Kerry in 2017 — an increase of more than €1.4m on the previous year when it was just under €6m.

The increased spending reflects the upward trend in the number of people classified as homeless in the two counties over the previous 12 months.

The number of homeless adults increased from 258 in Cork in 2016 to 287 last year. In Kerry, the figure rose from 38 to 71.

The number of homeless families in the south-west in 2017 was 57 including 148 children — up from 38 families with 91 children the previous year.

The latest figures show the problem is continuing to grow with the number of homeless adults reaching 309 in Cork and 125 in Kerry at the end of February.

Similarly, the number of homeless families across both counties rose to 91 including 222 children.

The biggest area of expenditure was on the provision of emergency accommodation which accounted for over €3.9m of last year’s total — up from €2.6m in 2016.

Over €3m was spent by the two local authorities in Cork on housing families in emergency B&Bs and temporary shelters provided by charities, while Kerry County Council spent €822,000 on similar measures.

Among providers of emergency accommodation, St Vincent’s Hostel on Anglesea Terrace in Cork City received almost €530,000 while Cork Simon Community was paid over €310,000 for its emergency shelter on Andersons Quay.

Almost €222,000 in funding went to the Good Shepherd Services for its facility at Edel House on Grattan St.

In Kerry, Arlington Lodge in Tralee, the county’s only temporary-supported homeless facility, received more than €308,000 in funding last year.

Expenditure on long-term supported accommodation remained unchanged on 2016 levels at €1.6m with financial support being provided to 16 centres, of which 14 are based in Cork city, including six operated by Cork Simon.

Homeless prevention measures as well as tenancy sustainment and resettlement supports accounted for €1.35m of the budget last year — up from €1.1m in 2016 — with most of the increase due to the provision of €277,000 for the Homeless Persons Unit run by the Department of Social Protection in Cork on Drinan St.

The biggest allocation was to Threshold which was paid €317,000 for its tenancy protection service and access housing unit.

Spending on homeless services provision and related administration by the three local authorities in Cork and Kerry last year fell by 22% to €540,000.

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