Dublin homeless families to get free public transport access for August

Leap Cards to be provided on a ‘once off basis’, spokesman for Eoghan Murphy says

Homeless families in Dublin are to be given Leap cards allowing them free access to public transport for the month of August, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is to announce.

Homeless families in Dublin are to be given Leap cards allowing them free access to public transport for the month of August, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is to announce.

 

Homeless families in Dublin are to be given Leap cards allowing them free access to public transport for the month of August, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is to announce.

The cards will be provided on a “once off basis”, Mr Murphy’s spokeman said, and proposals to extend free public transport to homeless families outside Dublin and to Dublin homeless families year-round would be considered in October’s budget.

Currently Leap cards are distributed to families in emergency accommodation in Dublin for use during school-term time. These are distributed through the Dublin Region Homeless Executive though the scheme is led by the Department of Housing.

All children under 19 are entitled to free travel with a Leap card during July. The move to extend this for homeless children in Dublin through August has long been called for by Focus Ireland, Barnardos and public representatives.

‘Misery’

Welcoming the announcement, Mike Allen, director of advocacy with Focus Ireland, said its staff had seen “the misery that is caused by inability to use public transport over the summer and it is very welcome that this is being addressed.

“It will help children have a more normal summer and help their parents in their attempts to find a new home.”

However, he said the system for distributing the Leap cards was “excessively cumbersome, bureaucratic and slow” and he hoped the issues had been addressed to ensure families would be able to benefit by the beginning of August.

The most recent data showed there were 3,826 children in emergency accommodation in May. In Dublin, there were 2,771 homeless children, of whom 1,700 (61 per cent) were in hotels or B&Bs.

Those working with homeless families have highlighted the need for extra supports with the cost of occupying homeless children through the summer, saying the long holidays put these families under “huge additional stress”.