Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s latest figures, from February 2020, show 10,148 men, women and children are staying in homeless emergency accommodation nationally.
418 adults were recorded as staying in emergency accommodation in Cork during the week of February 17 – 23, 2020. This represents a decrease of 2% compared to the previous month but an increase of 4% in 12 months and an increase of 35% in 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 10,148 people now 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.”
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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.
According to Daft.ie’s latest rental report (Q3 2019), asking rents in Cork City increased 5.5% from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019 and in Cork County they increased by 9.6% during the same period. Average asking rent during Q3 2019 in Cork City was €1,372 per month – the highest on record and in Cork County it was €1,031 – also the highest on record.
The Simon Communities in Ireland’s most recent Locked Out of the Market report found that over 3 consecutive days in August 2019 there was an average of just 47 properties available to rent in Cork City Centre – a 32% decrease from August 2017. Only 2 of the 47 properties were within Rent Supplement / Housing Assistant Payment rates.
“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 (Q3 2019), is €1,070 – almost double the Rent Allowance / HAP limit for a single person.
The Simon Communities in Ireland’s most recent Locked Out of the Market report found that over 3 consecutive days in August 2019 there were no properties available to rent in Cork City within RS/HAP limits.
Average asking rent for a 2 bed property in Cork City Centre according to Daft.ie’s latest rental report (Q3 2019) was €1,196 – 29% higher than the €925 Rent Allowance / HAP limit for a couple / single parent and two children.
The Simon Communities in Ireland’s most recent Locked Out of the Market report found that over 3 consecutive days in August 2019 there were no properties available to rent in Cork City within RS/HAP limits for a couple / single parent and two children.
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.
According to Daft.ie’s Irish House Price Report Q3 2019, house prices in Cork City and County increased 2.8% and 1.8% respectively in the 12 months to Q3 2019. These increases are the most moderate they have been since 2013. From 2013 to the present, house price in cork City have increased 71% and in Cork County they have increased 60%.
The Housing Agency has ranked house prices in Cork as ‘Moderately Unaffordable’.
Increasingly unaffordable house prices will drive more people to look for, and stay longer in, rental accommodation, further increasing demand in the private rental sector.
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.
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 10.5% of vacant properties in Cork City were ‘repaired and leased’, 418 people – the number of adults in Emergency Accommodation in Cork – could have a home of their own.
* 418 adults were recorded as staying in Emergency Accommodation in Cork during 1 week in February 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.