COPE Galway has identified access to housing as the single biggest issue experienced by clients of its services.
In 2014, COPE Galway worked with 134 families affected by homelessness in Galway, comprising 652 adults and their 311 children. The organisation has joined the national call for solutions to end the housing crisis. However, while national solutions are being progressed, COPE believes that more immediate solutions can be put in place at local level.
CEO of COPE Galway, Jacquie Horan, said: “The long term solution to the housing and homeless crisis in Galway is to increase the supply of social housing, and to introduce a form of rent certainty into the private rental market. In the shorter term, the rent supplement maximum limits need to be increased to align with prevailing rent levels. We need immediate solutions to this crisis."
COPE’s plan will bring eight housing units on stream via direct purchase, and seeks a further eight to be provided by local investors who wish to contribute to solving the housing shortage crisis.
The plan consists of: six apartments to be purchased by Clúid Housing Association for use by long-term homeless people currently living in emergency accommodation; two houses to be purchased through social finance by COPE for rent by its clients; and eight houses purchased/offered for rent by local investors/landlords to COPE clients, with tenancy support provided by the organisation.
“We see this latter part of the plan as an attraction to investors and landlords, where rent returns will fall within current Rental Accommodation Scheme and rent supplement levels,” Horan said. “As an alternative to contributing to COPE Galway financially, landlords would forego the added rent available on the open market, in support of housing for those experiencing homelessness in our local community.
"A landlord willing to forego an extra income of €3,000 per year could provide a house for a family facing homelessness, while continuing to receive an RAS rental income of €850 per month. At this stage, we have to get practical.
"We have come up with this plan for accommodation of people experiencing homelessness, and are on the road to making a number of houses available. We now appeal to local investors and/or landlords to consider this proposal and to contact us as soon as possible.”
COPE Galway’s annual report for 2014 is available on its website at www.copegalway.ie.