Almost 40 local families are heading into the Christmas period either homeless or potentially homeless, new figures from the council reveal.
Local councillors were informed yesterday that Kilkenny County Council is currently helping a total of 37 homeless or potentially homeless families somewhere to stay as of December 1. Around half of these families are in this situation because they have been given notice to vacate privately-rented houses.
Struggling families have been unable to find anywhere else to go due to the lack of private rental accommodation in Kilkenny. The local authority has been paying significant amounts of money to accommodate people in hotels or B&Bs in emergency situations – but now says this has become even more necessary and involves longer stays.
“The situation in Kilkenny has now become particularly challenging,” reads the correspondence from director of services John McCormack.
“In recent months we have recognised that the options available in the private rented sector have been diminishing alarmingly to the point that currently there are very few houses available for rent in the city, with monthly rents varying from €700 to as high as €1200 for the few that are.”
In addition, the council has a further 35 individuals who are homeless or potentially homeless due to the challenges that they face through addiction issues, mental illness or other problems. Local emergency accommodation centres are at capacity or may not be in a position to accommodate these people.
Local Fianna Fail councillor Pat Fitzpatrick has said the situation is a disgrace.
“This situation has gone from bad to worse,” he said.
“It is not good enough that anyone should be left homeless, and now we are facing into Christmas. I am calling on the Government to wake up to this crisis, and act now to address it.”
The homelessness issue will no doubt take precedence at next Tuesday’s meeting of the Housing Strategic Policy Committee, at which a new report is to be presented.
This latest development in Kilkenny’s own challenging situation comes following the tragic death of a homeless man in Dublin earlier this week. He was originally from Kilkenny (see page 3).