Increase in Adults in Emergency Accommodation in Cork

Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s latest figures, from March 2020, show 9,907 men, women and children are staying in homeless emergency accommodation nationally.

779 men, women and children were recorded as staying in emergency accommodation in the South West (Cork and Kerry) during the week of March 23 – 29, 2020. This represents a decrease of 4% compared to the previous month, a decrease of 3% over 12 months but an increase of 37% over 24 months.
Source: Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

385 adults were recorded as staying in emergency accommodation in Cork during the week of March 23 – 29, 2020. This represents a decrease of 8% compared to the previous month, a decrease of 4% over 12 months but an increase of 21% over 24 months.
Source: Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

It’s worth noting that these figures only capture people in emergency accommodation and don’t reflect the full scale of the homeless crisis. People rough sleeping, those in squats, parents and children in refuges, those in direct provision and the hidden homeless – people staying with family or friend on an insecure basis, often in over-crowded accommodation, because they have no where else to stay – are not counted among the 9,907 people homeless nationally.

“When I starts going in [to the Emergency Shelter] I didn’t know what to be expecting. I’d never been in that situation before. And to be honest I was just sitting there looking around me thinking what am I after doing to myself.”

Read more HOME TRUTHS

Cork Simon Emergency Beds
More people in need of a bed and people staying for longer

An average of 60 people per night stayed in our Emergency Shelter during Q3 2019. Our Emergency Shelter has capacity for 47 people but each night we accommodate as many people as we safely can. In addition, since November 2017, with support from Cork City Council we have provided an extra 15 places every night in our Day Centre. These places are basic; mattresses and sleeping bags, but they at least provide respite from the outdoors.

Average length of stay at our Emergency Shelter has increased significantly in the last 5 years. People stayed 63 nights on average in 2018 compared to 39 nights in 2013. People are having to stay longer as they simply have no-where else to go.

Rents at all time high. Supply at all time low.

According to Daft.ie’s latest rental report (Q1 2020), asking rents in Cork City increased 4.8% from Q1 2019 to Q1 2020 and in Cork County they increased by 3.8% during the same period. Average asking rent during Q1 2020 in Cork City was €1,396 per month – the highest on record and in Cork County it was €1,045 per month – also the highest on record.

According to the same report, there were just 769 properties advertised for rent in Munster on 1 April 2020, the second lowest total since late 2006.

The Simon Communities in Ireland’s recent study Assessing the initial impact of COVID-19 crisis on rental availability found that on 2 March 2020 there were just 40 properties available to rent in Cork City Centre. This figure increased to 58 on 25 March, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. In Cork City suburbs, there were just 59 properties available to rent on 2 March 20202, increasing to 62 properties on 25 March.

“The prices are ridiculous. It’s Cork at the minute; it’s crazy to get anywhere, like. You find one that’s in your price range and there’s six, seven other people in front of you there and a lot of them have cash in their hand ready to go because they know how hard it is. I’ve got so many times just refused, just refused.”

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Average asking rent for a 1 bed property in Cork City according to Daft.ie’s latest rental report (Q1 2020) is €1,070 – almost double the Rent Allowance / Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limit for a single person.

The Simon Communities in Ireland’s recent report Assessing the initial impact of COVID-19 crisis on rental availability found that on two dates in March 2020 (March 2 and March 25) no properties were available to rent in Cork City under standard or discretionary HAP limits for a single person. Discretionary HAP refers to flexibility of up to 20%, approved on a case-by-case basis.

“And even with the rent allowance, it makes no difference to me. It’s no benefit.”.

Read more HOME TRUTHS

Average asking rent for a 2 bed property in Cork City Centre according to Daft.ie’s latest rental report (Q1 2020) is €1,182 – 28% higher than the €925 Rent Allowance / HAP limit for a couple or single parent and two children.

The Simon Communities in Ireland’s recent report Assessing the initial impact of COVID-19 crisis on rental availability found that on two dates in March 2020 (March 2 and March 25) no properties were available to rent in Cork City within Rent Allowance/HAP limits for a couple or single parent and two children and just three properties were available to rent within the discretionary Rent Allowance/HAP limit, two of which were only suitable for a couple or single parent and one child.

Renters at High Risk of Poverty

The Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) in Ireland, compiled by the CSO, found almost 1 in 6 people in Ireland (17%) are at risk of poverty. It found however that 61% of people in rental accommodation are at risk of poverty.

27% of people seeking support at our Soup Run live in private rented accommodation, indicating this poverty trap – when rent and bills are paid, there is little left for food.

More people in employment in need of social housing

The percentage of people in employment and on the Social Housing Waiting List for Cork City has close to trebled since 2013 and now stands at 33%, indicating people’s increasing difficulty in accessing the housing and rental market.

In total, 6,627 households in Cork city and county require social housing – 3,118 households in Cork City and a further 3,509 households in Cork County are registered as in need of social housing.

Source: Summary of Social Housing Assessment Needs 2018

Insufficient building in Cork to meet demand

Cork City Council estimates, based on population growth, that 20,032 housing units are needed between 2011 and 2021. That’s 1,821 per year.

The CSO reports that 263 new dwellings were completed in 2018.

Source: CSO

Source: Rebuilding Ireland Status Report Q2 2018

(Social Housing Units include Local Authority new builds, Approved Housing Body new builds and Part V Social & Affordable Housing)

Cork County Council estimates a total of 58,005 new homes are required between 2011 and 2022. That’s 5,273 per year.

The CSO reports that 1,508 new dwellings were completed in 2018.

Source: CSO

Source: Rebuilding Ireland Status Report Q2 2018

(Social Housing Units include Local Authority new builds, Approved Housing Body new builds and Part V Social & Affordable Housing)

Repair and Lease Scheme holds promise

If just 1.3% of vacant properties in Cork City were ‘repaired and leased’, 60 people – the number of people on average staying each night in our Emergency Shelter – could be housed.

If just 8.5% of vacant properties in Cork City were ‘repaired and leased’, 385 people – the number of adults in Emergency Accommodation in Cork – could have a home of their own.

* 385 adults were recorded as staying in Emergency Accommodation in Cork during 1 week in March 2020 according to the Department of Housing, Community and Local Government.

According to Census 2016, there are 4,491 vacant homes (excluding holiday homes) in Cork City. Throughout all of Cork there are over 20,000 vacant properties.

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