“I was in the Shelter for about a year. They look after people; they understand people. I knew they’d understand me, my addiction; the proper help that I needed.”
Our Emergency Shelter on Anderson’s Quay, in the heart of Cork’s city centre, provides round-the-clock temporary accommodation, care and one-to one support for 47 people everyday. Our emergency shelter supports men and women over 18 years of age. It is fully occupied every night. In response to an increase in the number of people sleeping rough towards the end of 2012, we added an additional three temporary beds, bringing the total to 47. All 47 beds have been occupied every night since. In 2017, we introduced a new Winter Night Shelter which provided an additional 15 extra emergency beds. The Shelter accommodated an average of 53 people per night – the need for emergency accommodation is so great that we try to accommodate as many people as is safe to do so.
Throughout 2017 some 339 different people stayed at Cork Simon’s emergency shelter. The occupancy rate was 114%.
People staying at our Emergency Shelter are among the most marginalised, vulnerable and excluded people in Cork.
People become homeless for a variety of different reasons. For many, homelessness is the result of a brief crisis in their lives. With the right supports, they can be, and are, assisted out of homelessness quickly. For some people homelessness occurs because of a culmination of multiple crises over a long period. People become overwhelmed by this series of personal crises and problems, many of which can be outside their control. They build up over time – sometimes years, until that final crisis moment that triggers homelessness.
“There was a lot of people trying to get into the Emergency Shelter. It caused a lot of friction between us who were homeless…it was very stressful to see others getting in and you being left out.” – ‘Jenny’
It’s common for our emergency shelter to be overflowing – when the need for emergency beds is high, we try to accommodate as many people as is safe to do so. There have been some nights recently where up to 56 people have stayed.
Many people staying in our Emergency Shelter can be in poor mental and physical health. Drug and alcohol addiction can be an issue. Broken families, poor upbringings, early school leaving, dreadful life circumstances, long-term unemployment, can all be contributing factors to people’s homelessness. People who are most vulnerable and excluded often experience a combination of some or all of these factors, usually referred to as complex needs.
In 2017 131 people stayed at the Emergency Shelter for the first time. 26% of First-Time Presentations were via our newly introduced Winter Night Shelter.
Every person staying at the Emergency Shelter is assigned a Key Worker. Working together they will thoroughly assess the person’s needs – health. housing, education, life skills, problem alcohol and drug use, support networks, disabilities, employment and personal history. An individually tailored care plan will then be drawn up, agreed and implemented, and reviewed on an ongoing basis.
The goal is to move people onto the most appropriate housing with any supports necessary as quickly as possible. Whilst this happens in many cases, the lack of appropriate housing options can delay this move. There is often a shortage of housing options for people with a broad range of needs that require high levels of support – often referred to as complex needs. As a result people can become stuck in emergency accommodation for far longer than is necessary and become long-term homeless.
Throughout 2017 there were 57 people long-term homeless in our Emergency Shelter – people who were stuck in emergency accommodation for longer than six months because they had no housing option available to them.