Dublin hotel paid over €4 million to house homeless people
Dublin City Council spent €97.48 million on emergency accommodation in 2017
Homeless service users on emergency beds provided during last month’s freezing weather by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and Peter McVerry Trust. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
One Dublin hotel was paid between €4 million and €5 million last year to accommodate homeless people.
New figures released in response to a Freedom of Information request show another hotel received payments between €2 millionand €3 million.
The figures released by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) show a further 11 hotels received between €1m and €2m, with an additional 13 hotels receiving payments between €500,000 and €1m.
A further 124 hotels and B&Bs received payments up to €500,000 in 2017.
Last year, the overall amount paid out to hotels by Dublin City Council totalled €46.9m - a 20.5 per cent jump on the €38.94m paid out in 2016.
In addition, the council paid €12.3m to hostels and B&Bs.
The figures also show, in spite of a Government commitment by the use of hotels for housing the homeless would end by last July, the number of hotels accommodating the homeless increased in 2017.
Last December, 70 hotels around the capital were being used, an increase of four on the 66 hotels housing the homeless in January 2017.
The numbers of homeless families living in emergency accommodation in Dublin increased from 1,028 at the end of 2016 to 1,121 at the end of last year, with the number of children going up from 2,096 to 2,385.
The latest figures for February show 1,329 homeless families in emergency accommodation in the capital including 2,801 children.
The figures also show, as part of the Government initiative to establish ‘family hubs’, the council spent €8.75m in 2017.
Family hubs are group-style homeless shelters for families and have been rolled out over the past 16 months as a measure to reduce the number of families staying for long periods in hotels.
In all, the council spent €97.48m on emergency accommodation in 2017, including funding to non-profit organisations such as the Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland, Crosscare and the De Paul Trust.
The DRHE figures also show the council spent €819,072 on a helpline for the homeless over the year.
On the hotel spend, Independent Dublin City Councillor Mannix Flynn said: “The spend is outrageous, but it is not surprising.
“Hotels can charge a premium rate as there is a very large demand for hotel rooms in Dublin, he said. “The notion of housing people in a hotel just beggars belief and can have catastrophic psychological impact on those families and the children concerned. These people have had their lives suspended living in these artificial situations that has a massive impact on them. Homelessness is on the landscape to stay.”