More than 90 fam­i­lies pre­sented as home­less in first six months of 2019

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

OVER 160 in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies have pre­sented as home­less to Wick­low County Coun­cil in the first six months of this year.

The coun­cil said in a state­ment that it is fac­ing sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges in deal­ing with home­less­ness.

‘From Jan­uary 1 to June 20 2019, of the 167 pre­sen­ta­tions to Wick­low County Coun­cil, over 90 were fam­i­lies,’ they said.

‘Cur­rently, there are 20 fam­i­lies (with 40 chil­dren) and six in­di­vid­u­als in var­i­ous types of emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘The coun­cil’s Home­less Team as­sesses the need of the fam­i­lies pre­sent­ing and de­ter­mine where emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion pro­vi­sion is avail­able. It should be noted that emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion can be in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to source dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son and there are oc­ca­sions where pro­vi­sion may be of­fered out­side the county.’

The coun­cil said that in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, the client may be pro­vided with a guar­an­tee of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for home­less pro­vi­sion in the short term to source their own ac­com­mo­da­tion, in their area of choice, where avail­able.

‘If a fam­ily ad­vises the coun­cil of any is­sues with emer­gency pro­vi­sion in B&Bs or ho­tels (which have reg­u­la­tory stan­dards and are not a mat­ter of en­force­ment for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties), the coun­cil will in­ves­ti­gate im­me­di­ately,’ the state­ment said.

Wick­low County Coun­cil is cur­rently pro­gress­ing the open­ing of a Fam­ily Home­less Hub in Wick­low town which will pro­vide tem­po­rary, tran­si­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion for up to seven fam­i­lies ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness. Key sup­port work will be pro­vided to fam­i­lies to en­sure they can tran­si­tion from the home­less hub into al­ter­na­tive suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion.

‘Pre­ven­tion of home­less­ness is a key fo­cus for Wick­low County Coun­cil and the Home­less Team pro­vides ad­vice and sup­port to a home­less per­son or at risk of home­less­ness and en­gages with land­lords and the rents unit with a view to achiev­ing re­al­is­tic rents and sus­tain­ing te­nan­cies,’ the coun­cil said. ‘It is imperative that fam­i­lies at risk of home­less­ness con­tact the Home­less Team at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.’

In ad­di­tion, the coun­cil said that the Home­less HAP Placefinde­r pro­vides as­sis­tance by: seek­ing out po­ten­tial prop­er­ties suit­able for house­holds cur­rently iden­ti­fied as home­less or at risk of home­less­ness; li­ais­ing with spe­cific house­holds to es­tab­lish their spe­cific needs; es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships with lo­cal prop­erty agents and land­lords; and, sup­port­ing those home­less house­holds to ei­ther pre­vent the ne­ces­sity to en­ter emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion, or to exit emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion and se­cure a ten­ancy.

To date, 73 fam­i­lies and 24 in­di­vid­u­als have been as­sisted un­der the Home­less HAP Scheme in Wick­low County Coun­cil from the in­cep­tion of the scheme in Oc­to­ber 2018, to June 2019.

This fig­ure is made up of 63 home­less cases and 34 pre­ven­tion cases of which 12 fam­i­lies/sin­gles were re­sid­ing in emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion and four fam­i­lies in women’s refuge ac­com­mo­da­tion. The coun­cil sourced 40 prop­er­ties.

The coun­cil said that with HAP pay­ments for rent, they can only pay up to the lim­its de­ter­mined in leg­is­la­tion, ex­cept for dis­cre­tion to ap­ply 20 per cent if there is a home­less sit­u­a­tion.

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