Twenty people slept rough in Cork City on two consecutive nights this week. That is one of the highest figures in recent years.
Those 20, on Monday and Tuesday night, were among 78 people who either slept on the streets or had to avail of Cork Simon’s emergency accommodation.
The charity warned last night that the figure would increase, unless housing was provided for the 50 people in the city it deems long-term homeless.
Its chief executive, Dermot Kavanagh, said the situation would worsen without housing. “My fear is, if we continue to let things slide, we are going to see that number increase. The provision of housing is essential,” he said. “Those deemed to be long-term homeless account for just 12% of our shelter accommodation population, yet they account for almost half of all the bed nights.
“Moving them into long-term accommodation would free up almost 25 beds a night.”
He also criticised the long turnaround for vacant council houses, and called for incentives to encourage people to rent, or sell, vacant private houses.
Cork Simon said 20 people slept rough in the city on Tuesday night, 51 people stayed at its 44-bed emergency shelter, and another seven people were accommodated in temporary beds.
“But we still didn’t have enough beds for everyone,” a spokesperson said.
“With temperatures dipping to five degrees, 20 people had to sleep rough.
“We provide warm clothing and blankets, and make sure they are prioritised at our day service, where people can take a shower, change their clothes, have a warm breakfast and take a rest. But it’s not good enough.”
The latest spike in the city’s homeless figures comes ahead of a housing protest to take place on the steps of Cork’s City Hall, before a council meeting next Monday. Protesters have been targeting council meetings to highlight that there are 340 vacant or boarded-up council houses around the city, despite the risk of homelessness.
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