Homeless families could ‘fall through the cracks’ due to change in service, charity warns

Dublin City Council’s homeless executive takes over after-hours emergency accommodation service

Anthony Flynn of  Inner City Helping Homeless said ‘we will now see families being forced to ring the same number as those who are sleeping rough’. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Anthony Flynn of Inner City Helping Homeless said ‘we will now see families being forced to ring the same number as those who are sleeping rough’. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

Homeless families could “fall through the cracks” because Dublin City Council’s homeless executive has taken over the after-hours emergency accommodation service, a charity has warned.

Homeless charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) said the mobile number used by families and ICHH is now disconnected with no communication as to the new process in place.

Focus Ireland previously provided the service on behalf of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).

Since Monday, the service is being operated by the Central Placement Service, of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, which itself is provided by Dublin City Council.

The service is specifically for families who have a crisis need for accommodation.

Homeless families are required to call around hotels and B&Bs themselves in order to secure a place to stay which is then paid for by the homeless executive.

If they are unable to find a place to stay, the emergency service is meant to help them secure accommodation.

The DRHE said families who are not eligible for social housing support may need a temporary arrangement to avoid rough-sleeping.

Homeless charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) said the mobile number used by families and ICHH is now disconnected with no communication as to the new process in place.

‘Serious reservations’

“We have serious reservations about the impact this could have on families already under immense strain from homelessness,” said ICHH chief executive Anthony Flynn.

“The council must immediately clarify what the route is for those who are trying to access family emergency accommodation. This shift in how families are processed after hours could cause havoc and see families fall through the cracks,” he said.

“The number for the family action team who were previously responsible for allocations at night time has been turned off and families have not been informed of the new process. We will now see families being forced to ring the same number as those who are sleeping rough.”

He said that freephone service “is already inadequate and cannot cope with demand”.

“Any further pressure on a system that is already broken will cause havoc and will have a direct impact on families who are homeless,” he said.

A spokesman for Dublin City Council said on behalf of the four Dublin authorities, the family support team would provide emergency accommodation on an exceptional needs basis to families.

“As this is a crisis placement, the service will be on a one night only basis and only one offer of accommodation will be made,” he said. “The booking is to facilitate arrangements to be made, as appropriate, with relevant services eg Department of Justice, Department of Social Protection, Tusla, NGOs and regional local authorities.”

He also said they had been working with Focus Ireland and were “grateful for their assistance and support”.

“We expect a smooth transfer of service with no adverse impact on families presenting as homeless in the Dublin region,” he said.