Impact of homeless hostel on new ESB HQ raised with council
Councillors to be asked to back development plan for Longfield’s Hotel on Fitzwilliam Street
Fears that the opening of a homeless hostel on Fitzwilliam Street in Dublin would “negatively impact” the redevelopment of the ESB’s headquarters have been raised in a submission to Dublin City Council.
City councillors will next week be asked to approve plans to convert Longfield’s Hotel, in two adjoining Georgian buildings about 100 metres from Merrion Square, into a “supported temporary accommodation” facility run by the Simon Community.
The former hotel is opposite the ESB’s headquarters, which the company this week received permission to demolish and rebuild at a cost of about €150 million.
A report by city council chief executive Owen Keegan said the council received 63 submissions in relation to its plans to convert Longfield’s Hotel for use as a homeless hostel, one of which was “fully supportive”.
Others said the development would be detrimental to the conservation of the south Georgian core of the city and would negatively affect its tourism potential.
Concern the development would “negatively impact on the proposed ESB HQ redevelopment” was also raised, Mr Keegan’s report said. However, a spokesman for the ESB on Wednesday said it had not made any submission to the council in relation to the hostel development.
The council bought the hotel for almost €7 million in 2007, with the intention of opening a hostel as there is no homeless accommodation within 500 metres of the site. However, it has remained vacant since with more than €900,000 spent in security and maintenance.
The cost of the conversion and refurbishment is still being assessed, but repairs to the roof and upgrading of electrical and fire systems are needed.
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. Simon has been providing a supported service at Harcourt Street since 2004, but the building is no longer fit for purpose.
The new shelter would be run under the Pathway to Home model, which provides accommodation for people with care needs relating to mental health, substance abuse; people fleeing domestic violence; ex-offenders; or people leaving care. People can stay in the unit for up to six months.