Dublin homeless services left €18.5 million short

More than 3,300 in capital now living in emergency accommodation

 

Dublin is facing a shortfall of €18.5 million in funding from the Department of the Environment for homeless services this year, the city council’s head of housing Dick Brady has said.

The number of homeless children in Dublin reached 1,122 at the end of June, up from 1,034 at the end of May, city councillors were told on Monday. More than 3,300 people are now living in emergency accommodation in the city.

Mr Brady said he has been told by the department it would be allocating €37.1 million to fund homeless services in the city in 2015, despite the council having sought €55 million from central government to run the service, which has a full cost of €68 million for the year.

“This is a serious shortfall, a serious deficit in terms of funding,” he said. “We are going to have to have serious negotiations with the department”.

The council has so far this year acquired an additional 100 homes for homeless households and has secured 150 private rental units through the Housing Assistance Payment scheme, he said.

Separately 82 temporary accommodation units have been secured to take families out of hotels and 181 existing council houses and flats have been allocated to homeless and “vulnerable” households on the housing waiting list.

However, Mr Brady said the constantly increasing numbers of people becoming homeless meant the council could not keep pace with the problem.

“The numbers are increasing at such a rate that these actions will not see a downturn in the number of homeless families coming into the service.”

Some 1,122 children and 2,185 people over the age of 18 were living in emergency accommodation in week up to the end of June 28th.

The council has also stopped the programme of refurbishing empty council flats and houses because of budget over runs. Some 230 units were currently being refurbished, but work would not start on any more vacant flats or houses, known as “voids” pending negotiations with the department, Mr Brady said.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh called on Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to meet the council as a matter of urgency to resolve the situation.

The chair of the council’s housing committee Daithi Doolan said the shortfall meant the council would run out of money for homeless services by October.

“We’ve gone from a homeless crisis into an emergency, 67 families were made homeless in this city in May and another 65 in June.”

Separately councillors approved plans for the regeneration of the Charlemont Street flats near Ranelagh. The Alcove Properties development is the only major public private partnership (PPP) housing deal to survive the property crash.

Unlike previous regeneration schemes, the social housing will be “front-loaded”, with 79 apartments to be built for council tenants before any private development takes place.