Galway Circuit Court will today hear 82 repossession cases of principal home dwellings and buy-to-let properties. The Galway Housing Action Group will hold a rally outside the courts at 12 noon to highlight the situation of homelessness, repossessions, and evictions.
According to Focus Ireland's most recent figures, a record total of more than 8,492 people are homeless in Ireland, while one in three experiencing homelessness is a child. The total number of people homeless has risen by 24 per cent since October 2016.
In Galway the current official figure is 30 families in homeless accommodation, while single people are being turned away from emergency hostel accommodation on a nightly basis, with the offer of a sleeping bag. However these figures do not include people in domestic violence refuges and/or people living with other family members or friends in overcrowded accommodation of necessity. According to COPE's recently published annual report on homelessness in Galway, the number of homeless children in Galway rose by 143 from 369 in 2015 to 512 in 2016.
A spokesperson for the Galway Housing Action Group said repossessions and evictions are "compounding the dire housing and homelessness crisis" in the city. The spokesperson also pointed out that "thousands of people already have insecure or improper housing without the Galway City Council enforcing bank loans".
"In addition to an extreme lack of affordable private rented accommodation, the amount of council and social housing is inadequate, as demonstrated by the number of people on waiting lists for months and years," the spokesperson said. "Structural economic factors are the leading cause of homelessness in Ireland. The repossession of homes needs to stop."