Donegal will soon have its own support officer to work with the growing number of people becoming homeless in the county.
The issue of homelessness in the county was brought to the fore at this month’s sitting of Donegal County Council.
Letterkenny area Cllr. Adrian Glackin raised the need for an Independent Housing Officer to work with the homeless and act as an advocate for people with mental illness, addiction and other issues that may have contributed to their situation.
He called for a widened approach to deal with homelessness via a dedicated person who can ‘give people the tools to get back on their feet’.
The council confirmed that a Tenancy Support & Sustainment Service provider will be appointed in the next month to liaise with households and offer tenancy support and visiting support.
Cllr Glackin welcomed the progress and said: “We need to get people off the streets, give them hope and give them compassion. Nobody chooses to be homeless.”
Cllr Glackin added: “A large part of this issue is down to the lack of housing available. The current rent rate is at an all time high in Donegal. There is an issue with people applying for the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment). They are being asked for a month’s rent in advance and a month’s rent in deposit and they simply can’t afford it.”
Cllr Glackin identified a supply and demand issue as a main cause of the housing crisis:
“It’s a supply and demand issue, the prices are going up and people can’t afford housing.
“Let’s get somebody to deal with these people compassionately and with empathy to get them back on their feet.
“There is an opportunity for the council to liaise with local property owners to perhaps waive the large deposits that are being required or have them reviewed,” he said.
The council confirmed that the remit of the incoming Tenancy Support officer will be to assist individuals and households with a number of support interventions, depending on each individual case.