Friday, October 07, 2016

CORK’S homelessness crisis would be “almost unmanageable” if not for housing support charity Threshold which successfully prevented an additional 2,633 people from becoming homeless here last year.

Two homeless men sleep outside a night shelter in Cork City. Pic: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision

Two homeless men sleep outside a night shelter in Cork City. Pic: Daragh Mac Sweeney/Provision

This stark figure was revealed this morning at the launch of Threshold’s 2015 annual report.

Statistics show the organisation’s new Cork Tenancy Protection Service prevented 1,055 households from becoming homeless last year, which equates to 2,633 people. Of these, 1,186 were children.

Threshold chairperson Aideen Hayden said without this “vital service” the number of homeless families in Cork would be “significantly higher”. Without it, she said, the homelessness crisis here would be “almost unmanageable”.

Incredibly, the total cost of preventing these 2,633 people from becoming homeless was just €220,000 — which is a fraction of what it would have cost to provide the same amount of people with emergency accommodation.

Ms Hayden said that while Threshold is making a huge impact on people’s lives, it is also making a huge impact in financial terms.

“The families we have assisted can maintain support networks and friendships. Their children have not been forced to move school or been subjected to inappropriate homelessness accommodation, and they can maintain their dignity and hope for the future,” she said.

“The figures in this report also show that keeping a family in their home is a much more cost-effective approach than paying for inappropriate emergency accommodation in commercial hotels or bed and breakfasts.” It was revealed that the majority of those who needed help from Threshold last year were single person families, followed by one-parent families, and then two-parent families.

Most of these found themselves at risk of homelessness because of tenancy termination. The next most common cause was a rent increase, followed by rent arrears.

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