A one-day census conducted by COPE Galway across its services has revealed that the local charity accommodated and supported 187 households who were homeless or at risk of homelessness on one night in Galway last week.
The census was conducted between midday on Monday, November 20 and midday Tuesday November 21 and showed that there were 114 households, including 165 children who are living in emergency accommodation in the city.
The study also showed that there are 27 households, comprising 40 adults and 32 children, who are deemed “Hidden Homeless” (in contact with COPE Galway services living with family or friends, sofa surfing, or self-funding in tourist accommodation ) or are at imminent risk of homelessness, and seeking COPE Galway’s assistance to find alternative housing. On the same night, COPE Galway also had contact with 25 individuals who were rough sleeping in Galway.
In the short-term, the now annual Cold Weather Response came into operation this week to address the night time accommodation needs of people who would otherwise sleep rough.
Those in need of the service can access a bed each night from 9.30pm onwards. On arrival they are provided with a hot meal and there are staff on site to assist and support those availing of a bed for that night and also to identify and progress longer term solutions to their homelessness.
Martin O’Connor, COPE Galway Assistant CEO said that rough sleeping has become increasingly visible in the city again in recent weeks.
With our emergency accommodation services continuously full, the aim with these new additional night time beds is to try to ensure that no one has to sleep rough on the streets of Galway City over the winter period”.
He continued, “We are now asking for the help of the public to try to ensure that anyone who is rough sleeping knows where and how to access accommodation at night time. Anyone who wants more information about the Cold Weather Response or who wants to bring to COPE Galway’s attention the locations where people are rough sleeping, can do so by contacting 091 525259 in the day time and 085 8009641 after 9pm each night.
Meanwhile, the sixth annual COPE Galway Business Leaders Sleepout takes place tomorrow, (Friday, December 1 ) to raise awareness and money for those affected by the homelessness crisis in Galway.
COPE Galway Head of Development, Sharon Fitzpatrick said that 30 Business Leaders from across the county will leave behind their cosy offices and homes tomorrow night to sleep on the streets of Galway City.
“Funds raised from the Business Sleep Out are used to put specific supports in place for families and individuals, including resettlement support services which help people to move on from homelessness and to live independently.
“We are encouraging members of the public who are out and about in Galway city on Friday night to come and show their support for the Business Sleep Out participants and COPE Galway,” she said. Donations can also be made online at www.copegalway.ie/sleepout