Cork Simon to struggle after ban is lifted
Emergency services in Cork are already “packed to the rafters” and will struggle to cope with a surge in homeless numbers once the national eviction ban is lifted.
That’s according to Paul Sheehan of Cork Simon who says if homeless numbers increase, there certainly won’t be enough emergency accommodation for everyone in need of it.
“We don't think we'll see anything immediate. It will probably be early to mid-June before the first people are being evicted into homelessness,” Mr Sheehan told the Cork Independent.
He added: “Our experience when the moratorium was lifted last time around is that we saw a very slow but steady increase from the summer onwards and that increase never abated, to the point where there are now record numbers of people in emergency accommodation in Cork and Kerry.
“There is no reason to believe that those pressures aren't going to become even more intense as we get to the summer months.”
His comments follow Tuesday’s announcement that the national ban on evictions, which only came into effect at the end of October 2022, will not be extended beyond 31 March.
Mr Sheehan continued: “The minister did announce some measure to increase the number of houses that might become available through different initiatives and that's always welcome, but we would have preferred of those measures had begun to be rolled out at the start of this moratorium rather than at the end because it's going to take some time for those to kick in. We feel that is 6 months wasted.”
He also said that a high number of people presenting to Cork Simon’s soup run are in private rented accommodation and that more and more people in emergency accommodation are employed.
“We've got people in our emergency shelter at the moment who are working and who are there simply because they cannot find a place that they can afford - they literally cannot afford to put a roof over their heads,” said Mr Sheehan.
A public meeting on the topic of the housing crisis in Cork was announced yesterday to be held next week.
The Cork Needs Emergency Housing Action meeting will be held in the Metropole Hotel next Tuesday at 7.30pm.
The meeting will be addressed by Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners, and #DerelictIreland campaigner Frank O'Connor, amongst others, and will be hosted by Socialist Party TD Mick Barry.
Deputy Barry said: “I asked the Taoiseach in the Dáil yesterday whether he could give me an assurance as to whether the emergency homeless services would be able to cope with the surge in demand from people after the eviction ban is lifted. He pointedly did not reply, nor did he reply to a question as to whether the Government had done any homework on this issue.”