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A homeless person sleeping rough on the streets of Cork.
A homeless person sleeping rough on the streets of Cork.
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Cork Simon’s homelessness facilities are over capacity

HOMELESS charity, Cork Simon, has warned that its facilities are over capacity and that people are stuck in emergency accommodation for longer than ever.

This morning, Cork Simon launched its annual report for 2016, highlighting the extent of the city’s homelessness. An average of 53 people used the Anderson’s Quay emergency shelter every night — the highest number on record.

The shelter has space for 47, and struggled with an average occupancy rate of 113% last year. Those using emergency beds are doing so for longer.

Long-term homelessness is on the rise, with people spending an average of 54 nights at the shelter. This is up from 50 nights in 2015 and 39 nights in 2013.

 Paul Deegan, Cork Simon service user, pictured presenting his photographic work to Dr. Niamh Hourigan, Head of Sociology at UCC, and Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, at the launch of Cork Simon's Annual Report for 2016. Pic: Diane Cusack

Paul Deegan, Cork Simon service user, pictured presenting his photographic work to Dr. Niamh Hourigan, Head of Sociology at UCC, and Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, at the launch of Cork Simon's Annual Report for 2016. Pic: Diane Cusack

Some 52 users of the emergency shelter were deemed to be ‘long-term homeless’, meaning that they have spent at least six months in emergency accommodation over the last twelve months.

Female homelessness is on the rise, too: 22% of those who used Cork Simon’s emergency shelter in 2016 were women. Again, this is the highest figure on record.

737 people sought support at Cork Simon’s day service, a figure which has increased year-on-year since 2012, when 410 people used the service.

The Outreach Team recorded 327 who spent at least one night sleeping rough during 2016, while 10,000 hot meals were handed out through the soup run in 2016.

The charity helped 28 people to become newly housed in 2016, while planning permission was also granted to convert St Joachim & Anne’s, on Anglesea Street, into eight independent, one-bed apartments.

The ‘Home At Last’ plan was also finalised, with a plan to increase the charity’s housing stock by 100 units by 2019.

Cork Simon also opened its second aftercare house. The three-bed home offers women recovering from addiction a safe base from which to rebuild their lives, complementing an existing aftercare house for men.

Cork Simon also paid tribute to the generous support from the public.