Digital Hub to cater for 100 winter homeless as nightly refuge

Homeless executive identifies vacant building for rough sleepers on technology campus

The Homeless Executive has identified an empty building in the Digital Hub campus, in the Liberties area of the city just off Thomas Street in Dublin’s south inner city. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The Homeless Executive has identified an empty building in the Digital Hub campus, in the Liberties area of the city just off Thomas Street in Dublin’s south inner city. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

A building in Dublin’s Digital Hub is to become a nightly refuge for up to 100 of the city’s rough sleepers this winter under an initiative from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

The executive has identified an empty building in the Digital Hub campus, in the Liberties area of the city just off Thomas Street, which will be converted into emergency accommodation to take people off the streets from now until next April.

The building, a former industrial premises, is being made available to the executive on a temporary basis for its annual Cold Weather Initiative, which aims to prevent fatalities or serious harm due to sleeping on the streets in very cold weather.

“This annual proactive measure is undertaken each year as winter approaches with the emphasis being to have a variety of additional options for people who generally do not or cannot avail of existing services,” said the executive.

The Digital Hub was established by the State in 2003 to develop the Liberties area as Dublin’s technology enterprise “cluster”.

However its development was eclipsed by the arrival of Google in Dublin’s Docklands , which drew other tech businesses to that part of town.

Hub’s troubles

The economic downturn compounded the hub’s troubles and several buildings in the area remain vacant. But its fortunes have rebounded over the last two years and the hub is now home to some 90 digital enterprises, with more than 650 full-time employees.

Last winter’s rough sleeper count, conducted on November 21st, identified 168 adults sleeping on the streets. Following the death near Leinster House of homeless man Jonathan Corrie last December extra emergency beds were provided and the numbers sleeping rough fell to 105 last April.

While the focus of the winter initiative is usually on single adults and couples, this year’s plan will also have a focus on family homelessness, said the executive.

Separately, Dublin City Council said it has received a number of applications from modular housing companies to provide 22 houses for homeless families on a site in Poppintree, Ballymun by Christmas.

Interested companies had until 7am last Monday to apply to provide what will be the first tranche of 500 modular homes which are be located around Dublin city and county.

The council plans to shortlist a minimum of three and a maximum of eight companies, by the end of this week, to bid to provide the three-bed two-storey houses at the Ballymun site.