Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has called on Housing Minister, Simon Coveney to ensure that the Government’s response to homelessness isn’t solely focused on urban areas.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony was commenting following publication of the latest Novas West Cork Homeless Report which covered the period July to October 2016 which showed a 50% increase in the number of families and individuals experiencing homelessness versus the same period in 2015.

“These are shocking figures. The constant refrain in the media over the past three or four years has been of homelessness and housing problems in urban settings, mainly in Dublin. However, the threat of homelessness is as real in West Cork as it is in the cities,” said the Fianna Fáil TD.

“Increasing rents, even in rural areas, is putting pressure on families. The lack of public housing, providing by the County Council, means that people at risk of homelessness have nowhere to turn.”

“1 in every two of the clients referred for homeless services was families. This is the highest it has been in this area since Novas started collecting data.”

“Greater levels of public housing are required right across the State. New homes are needed in West Cork villages such as Skibbereen, Castletownbere and Bandon if we are to ensure that no family faces the risk of homelessness in the future,” argued Murphy O’Mahony.

“One of the most disconcerting findings from this report is the very high levels of people, over 60%, experiencing mental health issues or distress. This is something that needs to be addressed urgently addressed, and requires a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure that no one slips through the system experiencing distress.”

“The housing strategies being put forward by the Minister Coveney and the Government need to reflect the realities on the ground, including rural West Cork,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.