ALMOST 30 children are sleeping in temporary accommodation each night in Limerick, new figures show.
In a presentation to councillors this week, Limerick’s Homeless Action Team (HAT) revealed that 13 families, including 27 children are considered homeless. In total, 136 people are in supported accommodation.
Councillors have described the figures as “shocking” and “disturbing”, and have called for rent controls to be put in place.
Four families, with nine children in total are in bed and breakfasts. Meanwhile six adults and 12 children are housed in Suaimhneas in in Moyross, a centre for homeless women and their children.
Two adults and four children are in an emergency house managed by Focus Ireland, and two families are in emergency apartments.
Anti-Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville and Mayor Jerry O’Dea both acknowledged Limerick’s homeless team are doing the best they can to support those people forced out of their homes.
But Cllr Prendiville said: “On a national level, rent controls need to be brought in to stop the rapid rise of homelessness. There has been a real increase in the number of families becoming homeless,” he said, “At the heart of this is the lack of rent controls.”
He described the number of children not going to bed in their own homes as “shocking”.
Mayor O’Dea said: “It is disturbing, and a sign of the times we are living in. There is no doubt we have a housing crisis country-wide”.
He said there needs to be a focus on helping a family find permanent private or council accommodation more quickly.
“While families may temporarily be broken up, and this is very unfortunate, rather than trying to provide an emergency unit for the whole family, a focus should be on helping this family find permanent accommodation somewhere,” the metropolitan district mayor said.
He also raised questions about the out-of-hours helpline for people who may be homeless.
At present, the number - 1800-606060 - redirects into McGarry House after hours, with staff in the Novas Initiatives unit providing advice.
But, the report shows, there is full occupancy here, with three on the waiting list.