A former Bargaintown furniture showroom and warehouse in Coolock is to be used to provide accommodation for homeless families currently living in Dublin hotels.
The building in the Greencastle Parade industrial estate is one of nine facilities across Dublin that will be used as “family hub” emergency accommodation centres .
The facilities will cater for approximately 380 families and will be refurbished, converted, and fitted out with services including homework clubs, play spaces, laundry, cooking and dining facilities, in addition to bedrooms.
More than 1,000 families are currently in emergency accommodation and 815 of those are living in hotels. Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has set a deadline of July 1st to end the use of commercial hotels for homeless families.
Eight of the buildings have been leased by
Dublin City Council
for five years, while one, Ashling House a B&B in Clontarf, has been bought by the council.
Bargaintown, which will have 40 family rooms, is one of two former industrial/commercial buildings which are being converted into family hubs. The other is a former Prison Service building owned by the Office of Public Works which will house up to 30 families. Both will be run by the Salvation Army.
The only hub to open so far, High Park, a former Magdalene laundry in Drumcondra, has space for 42 families under the care of Respond housing association.
Nearby, the Mater Dei Institute, on Clonliffe Road will have places for 50 families. The facility will be run by Crosscare, a social services agency of the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin.
Another Catholic institution, the Sons of the Divine Providence, will run a hub at a former boys home in Ballyfermot with rooms for 11 families.
A number of smaller facilities have also been secured. Ashling House will have 13 family rooms; the Peter McVerry Trust will run rooms for 11 families at a large house off the Malahide Road in the
Fingal County Council
area; while a 12-room facility has been secured in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area at Millmount Dundrum.
The council does not have to go through the normal planning process to convert these buildings into family hubs, because the homeless problem has been deemed an “emergency situation” under the planning acts.
However, city councillors are concerned about the lack of information provided about the facilities.
"I believe we are here because of a decision a Minister made, and we are dealing with the fall out. I'm very annoyed we weren't consulted. The reason I'm annoyed is that I want to support you, not to stifle you," Sinn Féin councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh told council housing officials.
Deputy council chief executive and head of housing Brendan Kenny apologised for not consulting councillors.
“We couldn’t consult on these issues. We knew if we did consult it would take too long and we were of the view that if we did consult there would be huge opposition to all these projects.”
He said he would be happy to work with councillors “on how we plan the rest of it”.