Frostbite and trench foot affecting homeless people in Cork

Cases seen by GP in emergency shelter in city where numbers with housing issues on rise

Cork Simon is aiming to provide Christmas dinners to homeless people they encounter. Photograph: Alan Betson/File photo

Cork Simon is aiming to provide Christmas dinners to homeless people they encounter. Photograph: Alan Betson/File photo

 

Cork Simon Community has expressed concern after coming across cases of trench foot and frostbite in the city’s homeless population.

A GP in the city emergency shelter recently came across a case of frostbite and a handful of people with trench foot, a condition in which the surface tissue blackens and dies due to prolonged exposure to damp and cold.

The number of homeless people in the city has risen this year with the emergency shelter full every night.

The charity is looking to provide Christmas dinners to homeless people in the city, according to Paul Sheehan, communications manager of Cork Simon.

“We will have Christmas dinner in our day service and we will be trying to ensure that everybody will be able to go to that. It is a particularly difficult time for anybody that is homeless,” he told Red FM.

An average of 15 people a night are sleeping rough in Cork. Simon says rents in the city are spiralling out of control, increasing 14.4 per cent in the 12 months to September 2016. The average rent for a one-bed property in the city centre is 58 per cent above rent supplement and HAP limits for a single person.

Figures recently released by the Department of Housing showed a 17 per cent increase in the numbers accessing homeless services in Cork in October compared with last year, with 240 adults using the services over one week during the month.

Cork Simon has said there is a threefold increase in the number of women sleeping rough this year. The figures are increasing from five per month between December 2015 and February 2016 to 15 per month over the last three months.