Former Georgian hotel to be converted into homeless shelter

Longfield’s Hotel building was bought by Dublin City Council for €7m in 2007


A former hotel on Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin 2 is to be turned into a homeless hostel, seven years after it was bought by Dublin City Council for almost €7 million.

The council will this week publish plans to convert Longfield’s Hotel, in two Georgian buildings about 100 metres from Merrion Square, into a “supported temporary accommodation” shelter run by the Simon Community.

The council bought the hotel in 2007 with the intention of opening a hostel because there is little homeless accommodation in that part of the city. However, it remains vacant and has cost more than €300,000 in security and maintenance.

The shelter will accommodate 30 men and women, but its opening will not result in an increase in homeless places in the city as Simon plans to close its premises on Harcourt Street when Longfield’s is ready for use. Simon has been providing a supported service at Harcourt Street since 2004, but the building is no longer fit for purpose.

The new shelter will be run under the Pathway to Home model, which provides accommodation for people with care needs relating to mental health, drug or alcohol dependency; people fleeing domestic violence; ex-offenders; or people leaving care. People can stay in the unit for up to six months.

There will be 18 staff and the unit will have a “harm reduction focus”. Antisocial behaviour, such as loitering or drinking outside the building, will not be tolerated, Simon said.

Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said it was “quite extraordinary” that no additional accommodation was being provided, given the €7 million expenditure. He said it might be better to sell the building and use that money for homeless services.

Work to convert the building is expected to start next May.