Homelessness is on the rise in Laois

Figures reveal that the number of people presenting themselves as homeless in Laois is rising

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Homelessness is on the rise in Laois

At a time when a Laois charity, Portlaoise Action to Homelessness, has said that it has never seen the streets of Dublin so full of homeless people, it seems that the homeless crisis has made its way to Laois too.

The number of people presenting as homeless to the local authority in the county has increased from 2016 to 2017.

In the entire year of 2016, there was a total of 172 cases presented to Laois County Council as homeless and in need of emergency accommodation.

In the first seven months of this year, 131 cases have already been presented to the local authority as homeless and in need of emergency accommodation.

Out of the 131 cases so far this year, 34 of them have been placed in emergency accommodation.

It is not known out of these cases if it was families with children, couples or single people involved.

When a person finds themselves homeless the first step of seeking accommodation from the State is to present themselves as homeless to the local authority.

In general, people may be considered homeless if they are sleeping rough, staying in emergency hostel or refuge, bed and breakfast or hotel accommodation on a temporary basis, staying with friends or family or squatting.

Local authorities do not have a statutory obligation to house people, however, they do have general responsibility under the Housing Act 1988 for the provision of housing for adults who cannot afford to provide it for themselves.

They may help with accommodation either by providing housing directly or through arrangements with voluntary housing organisations and other voluntary bodies.

They may also provide funding to voluntary bodies for emergency accommodation and for long-term housing for homeless people.

The HSE has general responsibility for the health and in-house care needs of homeless people.

In terms of funding, this means that local authorities are responsible for the costs of providing accommodation while the HSE provides funding for the care and welfare needs of homeless people.

There were 7,941 people homeless in the week of June 19-25, 2017 in Ireland. In June there were 2,895 children in emergency accommodation with their families.

Laois charity urgently needs volunteers to wash sleeping bags.

Read more about homelessness in Laois here.

Read about housing in Laois here.

Read more Laois news here.