HOMELESS people in Limerick are being given money and told to source their own accommodation as there are now no emergency beds available in the city.
A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council confirmed that currently all emergency accommodation is full, or near to capacity and anyone presenting when a place isn’t available is given money to self-accommodate, which is in line with legislation.
Una Burns, of homeless support organisation Novas, said many people are now spending years in what should be only short-term emergency accommodation, because of soaring rental costs and a lack of properties.
“The biggest problem with the lack of emergency accommodation is that homeless single people are spending so long in emergency accommodation because they cannot access anything in the private rented market,” she said.
“There is such a dearth of one-bed units, they’re spending years and not months in emergency accommodation.
“Therefore, there’s no throughput, nobody is leaving that emergency accommodation, so then when new people present there’s nowhere for them to go,” she added.
With many hotels and other tourist accommodation full for the summer season, organisations such as Novas are now looking at alternatives such as student accommodation which becomes free outside of term time.
However, Ms Burns said this can involve separating families, adding that child homelessness has many traumas associated with it and can bring about lots of adverse childhood experiences.
Latest figures show there are now 109 children listed as officially homeless in the Mid-West region, which covers Limerick city.
Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan said he had been contacted by a family of seven last week. Both parents are working, however they were unable to find any rental accommodation after their tenancy came to an end. Mr Quinlivan said he could not direct them to a temporary emergency accommodation solution as the units are all full.
“Emergency accommodation in Limerick often includes a variety of properties such as hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, hostels, and temporary accommodation, and there is now a deep concern some families will be unable to access any of these forms of accommodation.”