Council have dealt with over 470 cases of homelessness this year

As an extensive programme of social housing construction continues across Meath, a total of 471 households presented as homeless to Meath County Council for the period January 1st to October 31st 2020 this year.

A further 998 new applications for Social Housing Support were also received for the period.

A recent report to councillors indicated that those presenting as homeless included 301 individual/couples and 170 families. The reasons they lost their homes included - 160 due to family breakdown, 86 because of notices to quit, 92 were sofa surfing and could not afford rent, 36 were due to domestic violence, 17 were leaving prison/hospital, 17 because of addiction, 14 for mental health reasons, 11 rough sleepers, and 26 were due to overcrowding/unsuitable living conditions.

A total of 145 tenancies were secured through the support provided by the Homeless HAP Placefinder Service for the period from 1st January to 31st October.

Councillors were informed that 81 social houses are currently under construction - 15 in Bettystown, 40 in Kells and 26 at Lagore, Dunshaughlin and all are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

It also confirmed that 134 homes were recently completed in Bettystown, Carlanstown, Athboy, Proudstown Road, Navan, Summerhill, Ratoath Cortown, Kilmainhamwood, Oldcastle, The Belfry, Trim and Carlanstown.

There are also 157 direct construction social homes at design phase and 130 at Part Eight planning stage.

Approved Social Housing bodies have delivered 553 homes in Meath in the past three years, councillors were told.

Cllr Eddie Fennessy said that it was shocking that 471 households entered homelessness in Meath last year.

"It is shocking and an indictment of a housing system not fit for purpose. From my own experience as a councillor, this year has been relentless in terms of constituents presenting at my office with nowhere left to go.

"A multitude of problems create the conditions that cause homelessness the most common of which are, high rents, inadequate HAP rates, family breakdown, addiction and mental health problems. The only common denominator amongst them all is a shortage of services available to prevent the crisis from escalating.

"I have to say, council have not been found wanting in terms of dealing with the crisis. In 2018 they spent €1 million on homelessness services. Such is the scale of the problem now that €3.2 million has been allocated to those same services for next year, 90 per cent of which I believe will be used to pay for emergency accommodation.

"I can only but praise the work carried out by Meath County Council's homeless settlement team, they should be commended for the incredible service they put in throughout the year, a lot of people are in a better situation for it," he said.

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