Emergency accommodation meant for six weeks lasting six years, says Phil Hogan

Drug-free housing for 50 people in recovery in place early next year, Dáil told

Phil Hogan: said there may be “a vested interest in some cases” keeping people in emergency accommodation

Phil Hogan: said there may be “a vested interest in some cases” keeping people in emergency accommodation

 

Phil Hogan

He said it was a “scandal and a waste of money” that in some cases people were living in emergency accommodation for up to six years when it is normally expected to last three to four weeks.

He told Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan: “I have never ceased to be amazed at the amount of time spent by some people in emergency accommodation.”

It emerged last month the cost this year of emergency accommodation was €23 million.

Mr Hogan said yesterday that in some situations “it develops into six years on the north side of Dublin in many cases, which is a scandal and a waste of money from the point of view of the client”.

He said during Dáil Question Time that “there is perhaps a vested interest in some cases in actually keeping people in that type of accommodation, which we are trying to address”.

Ms O’Sullivan said there was a major problem for single men trying to get accommodation.

The Dublin Central TD pointed out that while there was €15 million budgeted for local authorities, “Dublin City Council could take that all on its own and would still not have enough to deal with the housing crisis in Dublin”.

She said there was a need to get active at the preventive stage, and there needed to be a dispersal of emergency accommodation across the city.

Earlier Mr Hogan told her that early next year about 50 housing units would be available for drug-free accommodation for those in recovery.

He agreed with Ms O’Sullivan there was a serious need for abstinence-based facilities and programmes for people exiting drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres.

Addition problems
She warned that those in recovery from addiction problems and requiring accommodation were falling between the Departments of Health and Environment.

Young women and men in recovery had come through the rehabilitation process. “They have their lives back on track and are doing remarkably well. Now that recover is being made vulnerable because those currently using and living chaotic lives are moving into the same accommodation.”

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Dessie Ellis reiterated his concerns about rent supplement where landlords were cutting off their contracts and they could not access other rental accommodation.

Mr Ellis said the issue needed to be addressed urgently because rents were rising and landlords were more inclined to push people out in order to secure high rents instead of taking people participating in the rent supplement scheme. Only 443 suitable Nama-owned homes had been delivered in the past three years.

Mr Hogan said Nama identified 2,000 houses as suitable but work had to be carried out on a number of them to make them habitable.

Independent TD Mick Wallace said the Government’s refusal to build social housing had had a direct impact on levels of homelessness.

Mr Hogan said his department was working through local authorities on direct construction provision.