Homeless aid spend in Dublin to rise by €30m

Dublin city councillors approve increased budget for homelessness services in 2017

Almost €120 million is to be spent providing homeless services in Dublin city next year – nearly €30 million more than the council budgeted for this year.

The cost of running homeless services in the city, which does not include the construction of modular, or any other housing, for homeless people has almost doubled in just two years.

For 2016, the council had budgeted just more than €91 million for homeless services, including the cost of paying for hotel rooms and hostels.

However, by the end of this year, it expects to have spent more than €103 million.


For 2015, the council had expected to spend €59 million, but in the end spent more than €70 million.

The cost of providing nightly beds and other services for homeless families and individuals will, at €119.1 million next year, account for almost 15 per cent of the council’s €862 million 2017 budget approved on Monday night by councillors.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan expects to have received €78.6 million in funding from the Department of Housing for homelessness by the end of this year and €94.9 million next year.


"I am confident that the Minister will fund the additional costs incurred by Dublin City Council for the provision of homeless-related services due to increased presentation in 2016 and again in 2017, notwithstanding that written confirmation of financing has not yet been received."

Businesses will see an increase in commercial rates of three-quarters of a per cent next year, the first increase in rates since 2009.

Rates were reduced year on year from 2009 to 2015 and held stable in 2016.

Independent councillor Ruairí McGinley said “the era of rates reducing year on year is over for the foreseeable future”.

Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam said businesses were still struggling to recover from the recession.

“We don’t believe in the Fine Gael party it is right to increase charges on businesses.”

Mr Keegan had urged councillors to increase rates by half a per cent, but councillors voted for the three-quarter of a per cent increase.

Rates were also increased for owners of vacant buildings, who up to now were entitled to a rates cut of 50 per cent, Their rebate will now be 45 per cent.

Empty buildings

Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe said the change would “nudge people to make the right decision, but not whack them over the head”.

Owners of empty buildings “should not be sitting on vacant commercial property waiting for the goose to lay the golden egg,” he said.

The Workers’ Party councillor Éilis Ryan proposed the vacancy refund be scrapped completely, but her motion was not passed.

Separately, councillors were presented with the city’s three-year capital programme which will see spending on social housing construction rise by more than 90 per cent to almost €800 million over the next three years.

Fianna Fáil, People Before Profit and a number of Independent and single party candidates had said the fund was “wholly inadequate” and said the budget should be rejected in protest, but their motions were defeated.

Almost €175 million, more than 20 per cent of the capital budget, has been earmarked for building modular housing for homeless families living in hotels.

Construction of modular or rapid-build housing began a year ago and so far 22 have been provided at a cost of just more than €4 million.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times