Up to 50 families a day left without housing in South Dublin
Councillors say emergency services for the homeless cannot deal with demand in area
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly visits a charity providing medicine to the homeless. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Up to 50 families a day are being turned away from South Dublin County Council’s emergency services for the homeless - leaving families with nowhere to go, and putting staff under pressure, according to councillors for the area.
A group of South Dublin councillors will debate the housing and homelessness crisis in the area on Monday.
They will discuss the number of vacant houses in council ownership and the number of Nama-owned properties and development sites available in the area in a bid to deal with the crisis.
They are also expected to pass a motion inviting Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to spend a day in the area working with the council’s emergency housing service.
Cllr Eoin Ó Broin of Sinn Féin, who tabled the motion to invite Mr Kelly, said he had “personal experience of staff in tears because of the level of emergency homelessness”.
Mr Ó Broin said council staff provided a very professional service, offering three responses to a homeless person in need.
“The first is a quality hostel, where family rooms and bathrooms are provided; the second is a more basic level hostel and the third is a hotel room.
“But the number of hotel rooms we can call on are limited because hotels have set limits on the numbers they will rent to us,” Mr Ó Broin said.
“On a day when I was present the council staff could do nothing but give people a number to call in case anything became vacant later in the day.
“There were 50 families or individuals waiting and service providers - who are all hard-working staff - were obviously distressed.
“These are not families which would typically have problems of homelessness or of addictions.
“These are people who have lost their homes through mortgage difficulties or repossessions of buy-to-let properties.
“I would like to see Mr Kelly out here for just one day to see the levels of distress,” he said.
Motions relating to the housing and homelessness situation in South Dublin have also been tabled by Mayor Sarah Holland of Sinn Féin, who has called for an audit of the vacant houses in the council’s administrative area.
Cllr Charlie O’Connor of Fianna Fáil has asked for a full report on the crisis from council management, detailing the numbers involved and how the council proposes to deal with the situation.