BANTRY is facing a homelessness crisis, according to Independent Cllr, Danny Collins, who, this week, is searching for emergency accommodation for an elderly man.
The councillor told The Southern Star that the man, who in his late seventies, and in a very distressed state, is at risk of being made homeless by Christmas.
‘I am hoping that I can find a place for him but that is not sorted yet,’ he said.
He said the accommodation they looked at on Monday afternoon had to be ruled out because the stairs in the property were too steep.
‘To see this man in this distress saddens me,’ said the councillor. ‘Last week he said, “Danny, am I going to be left on the side of the road?”’
Cllr Collins said there was something fundamentally wrong about seeing ‘an elderly gentleman, like this, at this stage of his life, at risk of being made homeless.’
The Cllr blamed the looming homelessness crisis on the lack of rental properties in Bantry town.
‘People simply cannot find houses to rent,’ he said. ‘A couple of situations have arisen in recent weeks after people were asked to vacate their houses.’
He said he knew of one situation involving a lady and her child who had to stay with a friend for a number of weeks before she found a house.
The situation involving the elderly man arose after he was asked by his landlord to move out of his rented accommodation before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Danny Crowley, who runs the St Goban’s Further Education and Training Centre in Bantry, confirmed that he too is meeting people who are on the brink of homelessness.
He said he knows three young people who are finding it extremely difficult to access accommodation, or receive any help in a system – a system that he believes ‘is designed to confuse and ensure that people just give up.’
Over the last four weeks, Danny Crowley said he also tried to help a man and his partner – who is expecting a child later this year – to apply for social housing but found it ‘hard to make any progress as the application has been returned three times requesting more information.’
Mr Crowley was responding to an article on the front page of last week’ s edition of The Southern Star in which Cork County Council said the centralisation of services to Clonakilty is not an issue. But he believes nothing ‘could be further from the truth.’
In his position, he said: ‘I hear first-hand, the difficulties that are being experienced by young people and can see the very real impact the lack of services for young people in West Cork are having on this generation.’
Danny Crowley called for greater ‘engagement with people who are making a genuine effort to seek assistance and social support in their time of need.’