Accommodation for homeless women ‘urgently’ required following rise in service users

‘Insufficient’ housing available for single women who are homeless, says homeless charity Depaul

Additional women-only homeless accommodation services are urgently required following a rise in the number of women who are homeless, homeless charity Depaul has said. It said 25 per cent of their service users last year were women.

“There are currently insufficient services available specifically for single women who are homeless,” senior services manager at Depaul Niamh Thornton said. Of the 681 women the charity supported in the State last year, 297 were single women.

The charity was seeing more women with “chronic and complex” issues entering homelessness, chief executive David Carroll told RTÉ Radio.

He said women were vulnerable to exploitation, particularly if they were sleeping rough. The charity runs four services that specialise in providing support for women.

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There was also an increase in the number of single people seeking support, which was hugely concerning, he said. “They are probably the most difficult group to move on — there are two specific options available to single people, the private rental sector but also social housing. But in 2022 we are finding huge difficulties in providing longer-term solutions nationally for that group.”

Mr Carroll was commenting on Depaul’s annual report which highlighted a complete “slow down” in the ability to move people on from temporary accommodation to permanent accommodation.

The forthcoming budget will be critical to “turn off the tap” of people entering into homelessness, Mr Carroll told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland.

The Government has the power to introduce supports to ensure that people do not have to choose between rent, heat or food, he said.

There was no reason why people should be entering into homelessness due to economic reasons, but there was a concern that the situation could get worse in the coming months because of the inflation crisis.

“Government have the power to make sure that people don’t have to choose between rent, heat or food.

“We’re calling for specific measures that offer tax incentives to renters but also creating a specific fund, a hardship fund for people who run into rental difficulties. The next couple of weeks it’s absolutely critical that we think about those people who may come into homelessness and turn off that tap as best we can.”

Depaul, which is an all-island charity, assisted 3,670 people in 2021 a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. It was a “monumental year”, said Mr Carroll. Despite all the challenges, post-Covid, the charity managed to accommodate 490 individuals, but this was a decrease of 14 per cent on the previous year.

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a media monitor and reporter