Our Homeless Service
In 2020 COPE Galway supported
Responding to Homelessness in Galway in 2020
Demand for COPE Galway’s Homeless Service during 2020 continued unabated as Galway’s homeless and housing crisis remained a significant issue in our community with the onset of the pandemic. Despite the challenges and restrictions posed by Covid-19, our homeless service worked with and supported 1,157 people in Galway. This included 606 single people and 138 families with 350 children.
“One thing we’ve seen over the years is that people can lose hope in themselves; they lose hope for their future; they lose hope that they’re going to end their homeless cycle, that they’re ever going to live a secure, ordinary, normal, boring life … but we make sure as staff that we never lose hope in people.”
Donna, Manager, Fairgreen Hostel.
Over the course of 2020 the numbers of families newly presenting as homeless dropped compared to the previous five years, in large part due to the moratorium on evictions during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions over much of the year. This, combined with a steady movement of families into homes of their own, resulted in a more than 30% reduction in the number of families COPE Galway provided emergency accommodation for at any time, down to 60 families by the year end. In collaboration with Galway City Council we brought a number of own-door housing units into use as part of the Covid-19 response at a local level in Galway City.
During 2020 a total of 91 households – 48 families and 43 singles – moved onto permanent long-term housing from COPE Galway’s Homeless Service; 39 into social housing and 52 into private rented. A further 29 single person households moved from emergency accommodation into community-based transitional and supported accommodation thanks in no small part to an additional 11 spaces provided by COPE Galway over the course of the year. Resettlement and tenancy support were provided to these households, much of this in the form of telephone support in light of the public health restrictions in force for much of the year.
We must acknowledge the dedication and sacrifice of our frontline staff across our homeless and housing services, who meticulously and immediately introduced Covid-19 prevention and containment measures. Putting their personal worries to one side, our staff were flexible in response and mobilised to make sure services stayed open.