Worrying numbers revealed in Council’s Management Report
As of June 24th, there were 74 individuals and 18 families in homeless accommodation in Waterford City and County.
That alarming statistic was one of several findings revealed in the Council’s Management Report, which was published ahead of last Thursday’s monthly meeting of the local authority.
“We’re told by some that there’s no homelessness in Waterford,” said Councillor Breda Brennan (SF) “and then you read official figures like this that tell you, sadly, that this is anything but the case – it’s very worrying that so many families in Waterford are in such a level of distress”.
Her Sinn Féin colleague Jim Griffin told last Thursday’s meeting in City Hall that of all the issues he has to regularly deal with, that none troubles him more than this.
“When you get calls from people whom you could only describe as being beyond despair, clearly at the end of their tether, you get some idea of what the picture is like not only in Waterford, but throughout the country. And while there is progress being made with respect to social housing in the city and county, much more needs to be done.”
The report revealed that 14 of the 74 individuals in homeless accommodation had dependent children. Two of the 18 families in question had dependent children while a further two families had no dependent children.
In terms of homeless cases presented to the City & County Council’s Housing Department, there were 31 cases alone recorded in June, with 215 cases in total presented during the first six months of the year.
The report states: “Additional funding in the amount of €192,800 has been received for the provision of accommodation and related services for homeless people in the South East Region for 2015 (note: that’s for the region, not just Waterford).”
At present, Waterford City & County is busying itself with two housing projects, with the Chairman’s Arch development (11 units off Cathedral Square) completed since last month: namely Saint John’s College in the city (61 units) and the imminent start of works at Dungarvan’s old cinema (15 units).
Said Cllr Joe Kelly (Ind): “As far as I’m concerned, it is shocking that we as a Council are being left to pick up the slack when it comes to tackling this major social crisis.”
Meanwhile, there are two Council builds expected to go to tender next month, which will lead to eight new units at Ardmore Park/Priory Lawn and six units in Larchville.
The Part 8 planning process is due to be completed for Patrick Street (Tramore – two units) while the same process is being commenced for Coolfin Woods (Portlaw – eight units) and Ballinroad (20 units), both of which are currently at design stage. Further builds in Cappoquin and Tallow (four in both towns) are also expected in due course.
Up to 500 houses in the city and county are due to benefit from a €700,000 insulation retrofit, the funding of which was confirmed by the Department of the Environment in late June.
And a further grant of €898,630 with respect to Energy Upgrade has been secured for houses at St Catherine’s Grange and Rathfadden Park (in the city), Coolfin Woods (Portlaw) and St Martin’s Terrace and St Martin’s Terrace (both in Dungarvan).