Spending on emergency accommodation rises significantly
Spending on emergency accommodation for homeless people increased significantly in 2016.
Speaking at last week's meeting of Wexford Borough District senior executive officer Liz Hore said that the 2016 has seen a 'significant' increase in the level of spending on emergency accommodation. However she said that by and large Wexford has been able to avoid the problem of rough sleepers which is being experienced in other urban areas.
She said the council is also currently working with approved housing bodies to try to provide independent units for homeless people and families at risk.
Ms Hore said that council is also working with the women's refuge to provide eight new independent accommodation units.
Cllr Deirdre Wadding said that perhaps the council could lead an initiative similar to the occupation of Apollo House in Dublin which is currently under way. 'Maybe we should consider opening up a vacant building on a temporary basis?'
She was supported by Cllr Davy Hynes who said that 'we need to think outside the box. We are playing catchup here with this and there will be a crisis for a while.'
Cllr George Lawlor said that it might be difficult to organise but said that if it were council led he would support it. He also said that he was frequently approached by tradesmen who indicated they were willing to carry out works on homes in a bid to house people.
He said he also feared that if vacant buildings were opened up on a temporary basis that it 'would become a permanent solution and it is a handy cure for the government. It would only work it if were happening in all urban areas.'
Ms Hore said that the council's goal is not to have people in emergency accommodation at all. She said that a number of new housing schemes which are being introduced in 2017 should 'really assist us with housing people.
'In Wexford we haven't the same amount of rough sleepers as other areas and despite the challenges we have been very responsive to the needs of the people on the ground.'