A Letterkenny councillor is calling for a dedicated homeless accommodation centre to be proposed for the town.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle said a large building is needed to cater for the current number of people presenting as homeless in the area.
The rise in rent prices is leaving more people unable to meet the costs, Cllr McMonagle told the Letterkenny-Milford MD this week. Meanwhile, a growing number of people are being forced to sleep on people’s sofas – be they friends or families – waiting on affordable accommodation.
“There is a need for a bigger and more substantial homeless centre where we can accommodate people for short term periods for them to get back on their feet or to identify housing that they can afford to rent,” he said.
Donegal County Council provided emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs for 40 people in the Letterkenny-Milford District in 2020. A total of 13 people have availed of emergency accommodation between January and April 2021.
Other supports are available through St. Colmcille Homeless Hostel, which operates at Sallaghgraine, Letterkenny under the management of St. Vincent de Paul. The NW Simon Community provides preventative measures to avoid homelessness.
Cllr McMonagle said there is a need for something more substantial as Letterkenny grows.
“We are all aware that the hostel is at full capacity for as long as I’ve know it to be a homeless shelter. It’s very rare that there’s a vacancy there. NW Simon can offer support and encouragement, and sometimes help in getting people a deposit for a private rental, but it is limited in what they can do,” he said.
Cllr McMonagle said he was not asking the council to fund or build a centre, but “that we put together a case for the Minister to look at to support and maybe fund. It could be an extension to the exsiting accommodation centres we have or a new standalone centre going forward.”
“We are not seeing the full scope of the amount of people in need of housing because people have friends and families for sofa surfing.”
Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh seconded the motion on Tuesday and asked the council for further information on homelessness in the town in order to determine what supports are needed.Tags: