Our Homeless Service

In 2021 COPE Galway support


People in Galway who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.









A Challenging Year

A Challenging Year

2021 proved to be an extremely challenging year for our services. The impact of the Housing Crisis increased the need for our services for both families and single homeless people. The dual challenges of the pandemic and the resulting local, national and international staffing crisis threatened the smooth and uninterrupted operation of our services. Despite this, our services continued to operate 24/7 throughout 2021.

Lack of Affordable Housing

The acute shortage of available, affordable rental accommodation in Galway in 2021 meant that many who lost their housing came to rely on emergency accommodation. This included people who had never previously availed of homeless services.

The route out of this accommodation is extremely challenging and has contributed to a situation where many faced into extended periods living in emergency accommodation. Fortunately, this was, in part, counterbalanced by significant numbers of new social housing units coming on stream locally in Galway, which provided an exit route out of homelessness into a home for life for some.

Homelessness isn’t limited to people we see sleeping on the street, in bus shelters, doorways and parks. Here in Galway, where a lack of affordable housing has pushed people into substandard accommodation, we regularly meet people who are living in cars and garages or survive by couch surfing and living in extremely overcrowded conditions”.

Sinead Carey, Head of Homeless Service

I meet and listen to these families to create child-centred support plans. I support them to enrol their children in schools or crèches; organise school transport and identify essential items such as food and clothes they may need. I focus on ensuring that they are as comfortable as possible in their B&B accommodation and that they have essentials, such as kettles and microwaves; homework spaces; access to laundry and food preparation facilities and vouchers for shopping or activities for their children that they could not otherwise afford.”

Cliodhna, Child, Youth and Family Outreach Worker tells us about the impact of the work she does for the over 300 children without a home in Galway.

Meet John

Late in 2021, for the first time in my life, I found myself in need of emergency accommodation. As a result, I resided at the Glen Oaks Hotel in Galway City, where COPE Galway ran the Cold Weather Response from November to April”

John eventually managed to find himself a shared property with three other residents, thanks to help from the staff within Glen Oaks

My health, mentally and physically, has improved and I am back working part-time and feel much more positive about the future.”

A Refocus on our Approach

A Refocus on our Approach

As we moved into a phase of adapting to living within a pandemic environment, our thoughts turned to mapping how we might move our services from being reactive and crisis driven to being more responsive and considered in our approach. Services began to refocus on work commenced prior to the pandemic to enhance our service delivery and improve both the client and staff experiences.

We resumed our work on exploring Trauma Informed Practice, reflective practice and strengths-based approaches. The COPE Galway Approach, built on Understanding, Respect, and Response, was always at the heart of these discussions. By year end, COPE Galway had committed to becoming a Trauma Informed Organisation.

Glen Oaks Service Manager, Veronica Keys reflects on how a trauma informed approach made a positive difference at one of our services.

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