The Budget will drive more and more local families - already under severe pressure from the recession - into crisis, the director of services for COPE Galway, warned this week.
The charity, which works with homeless men, women and children experiencing domestic violence and older people living in isolation in the west, expects a major increase in the number of people seeking support from its services.
Martin O’Connor said that Budget 2013 will have a “disproportionate impact” on low income families.
He was commenting as the organisation released startling figures earlier this week on the number of children and families it is supporting. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of families with children using its services this year.
In the first 11 months of 2012 COPE Galway’s homeless and domestic violence services provided accommodation and assistance to 374 children accompanied by their parent(s).
“During this time 108 women with 175 children were supported through the Waterside House domestic violence service for women and children, 74 families with 167 children were supported by Teach Corrib homeless day centre and 22 women with 32 children were accommodated in Osterley Lodge Hostel for homeless women.”
Osterley Lodge, designed mainly to accommodate single women, had a 100 per cent increase in the number of women with children using the service this year. One in four people accommodated there were children (accompanied by a parent).
Teach Corrib Homeless Day Centre worked with 74 families this year which is a 30 per cent increase on last year’s figures. During the same period, Waterside House Refuge for women and children was forced to refer 199 women with 300 children, experiencing domestic violence, to other services around the country because they were unable to accommodate them on the day due to lack of space in the refuge.
Mr O’Connor says these figures reflect what is happening to families and children in Galway today. “More and more families are in crisis and more and more children are being directly affected. In our Pre Budget Submission COPE Galway pleaded with the Government for no further cuts to child benefit. The €10 cut per child per month will have a disproportionate impact on the families that we support. We have no doubt that the Budget will drive more and more families into crisis and into seeking support from our services.”
COPE Galway provides emergency accommodation and support services for women and children experiencing domestic violence, for homeless men, women and families and older people in Galway city and county.
Donations can be made directly to COPE Galway, Calbro House, Tuam Road, Galway or Bank of Ireland, Sort Code: 903816, Account Number: 39096396.