Evictions double and domestic violence up 27%
The number of women and children admitted to Edel House as a result of being evicted last year doubled, while there was an increase of 27 per cent in domestic violence among those who availed of the service.
Edel House is a residential centre for girls, women and children who are homeless. Staff believe the eviction rates are a clear signal of the current economic situation.
The annual report showed that over 61 per cent of the women and children who spent time in Edel House moved back home after an interval, were placed in private rented accommodation, social housing or went to live with a relative or friend.
'Back on my feet'
One woman who spoke to the Cork Independent but does not wish to be named, said that Edel House had been instrumental in helping her get back on her feet after running into trouble as a teenager.
She said: "I just didn't care when I was a teenager, I was 17 when I first came to Edel House and I was drinking and using drugs and the help they gave me was huge. They give you focus and provide women with lots of advice and help on where to go next."
The woman has stayed in Edel House a number of times since her first stay and has since had a child and she says that she is hoping to have moved into private accommodation in the next number of weeks.
"Since I had my child everything has changed, I have a totally new outlook and that's thanks to the staff as well at Edel House. It's not like a B&B, you have to look after yourself and your child but they give you the basis to help you stand on your own two feet.
"I'm really proud of how far I've come since my first stay here and a lot of that is thanks to the help I have received. They don't judge anyone and the staff are amazing and they provide aftercare for when you leave which I'm definitely going to take up."
Esther Doolan is the manager of Edel House and she says the need for fundraising now is greater than ever. Many of the women who arrive to Edel House have nothing and the house is always looking for donations of non-perishable foods, clothes, bedding, towels as well as nappies and other baby items.
She said: "The service is in urgent need of funding and volunteers who will help with its work. We run a homework club which is currently looking for volunteer teachers who might give up an hour or two per week during the school year to assist children with their school work and make up for any time that may have been missed as a result of difficult circumstances. We have achieved a lot through strong teamwork in the face of the harsh economic climate but we are always looking for more help."
Launching the annual report for 2011 Chief Executive Tony O'Riordan said that the organisation supported 716 women and children during that year with 481 of these in their residential services.
He said: "The plight of women and children who find themselves homeless is bleak indeed and the numbers may come as a surprise to many. Awareness of these vulnerable women and children's situation is very low amongst the general population in our city."
Edel Hose are currently looking for women who are doing the Women's Mini Marathon on 16 September to raise funds on their behalf. Sponsorship cards and t-shirts are available from Helen Burke in Edel House who can be contacted on 021-4274240.