Edel House Chief: “There is always a waiting list, it’s not Emergency Accommodation anymore”

EDEL HOUSE was first established to provide emergency shelter to homeless women and children, but throughout Ireland’s homeless crisis it has become much more.

It provides a safe base to women trapped by the spiralling demand for Cork’s limited housing stock, where they are assisted and facilitated to learn, grow and improve their lives. The centre is due a physical makeover, but planning did not allow an extension of the numbers catered for at the centre despite no let-up in demand.

Edel House accommodates 10 families and 18 single women. Between 15 and 20 children stay at Edel House on average but the centre takes more than 30 children sometimes, depending on family size. Despite official council figures which indicate that the numbers of people who are homeless has decreased, demand for Edel House’s services shows no signs of decreasing. Some 52 children from 22 families are currently on their waiting list, and seven single women.
Edel House has a constant waiting list and staff frequently have to redirect people to a B&B.
For those women inside, it is still a waiting game, every morning they expectantly check the notice board in the centre’s foyer hoping that a letter has arrived which may bring news of a home.
“There is always a waiting list, it’s not emergency accommodation anymore as we don’t have the space to take in anyone on an emergency basis,” said Chief Executive of Edel House, Tony O’Riordan.
Since mid-2013, the facility has been full constantly with a waiting list. “Paralysis by analysis’ is how Mr O’Riordan explained the government response to the housing crisis.
“That paralysis started in 2013 and it’s worse now. We’ve had one family this year allocated local authority housing, and in 2015 five women from here got local authority housing, and 18 received social housing from organisations like Sophia, Cluid and Respond.”
“This is backs-against-the-wall time. The government need to loosen their purse strings,” Mr O’Riordan said.

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