Number of homeless families in Dublin hotels to be nearly halved

Nine ‘family hubs’ to take 380 families from hotels under mover by Simon Coveney

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has set a deadline of July 1st to end the use of commercial hotels for homeless families.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has set a deadline of July 1st to end the use of commercial hotels for homeless families. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Almost half the homeless families currently living in hotels in Dublin are to be moved to nine “family hub” emergency accommodation centres across the city and county.

The facilities, which have been leased by Dublin City Council for five years, will cater for approximately 380 families with services including homework clubs, play spaces, laundry, cooking and dining facilities, in addition to bedrooms.

Just one of the hubs is a former hotel, Lynam’s Hotel on O’Connell Street, with the remaining eight including buildings owned by religious institutions, large family houses, and former industrial premises.

More than 1,000 families are currently in emergency accommodation and 815 of those are living in hotels. Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has set a deadline of July 1st to end the use of commercial hotels for homeless families.

However, sufficient alternatives to house these families, such as rapid-build housing, long-term leasing and other permanent accommodation solutions, will not be in place by July 1st.

Out of hotels

To meet the Minister’s deadline, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has started to move people from hotels into “family hub” accommodation.

The first of these, High Park, a former Magdalene laundry in Drumcondra that had been let for student accommodation, was opened last February with space for 42 families under the care of Respond housing association.

Nearby, the Mater Dei Institute, on Clonliffe Road will have places for 50 families, following the move of the institute’s students to St Patrick’s teacher training College Drumcondra. The facility will be run by Crosscare, a social services agency of the Catholic archdiocese of Dublin.

Another Catholic institution, the Sons of the Divine Providence, will run a hub at a former boys home in Ballyfermot with rooms for 11 families.

The Salvation Army is to run two large facilities at industrial estates; one at Clonard Road in a former Prison Service building owned by the Office of Public Works that will be able to house up to 30 families, and another at Greencastle Parade, an industrial estate in Coolock which will have rooms for 40 families.

Smaller facilities

A number of smaller facilities have also been secured. Ashling House, a B&B in Clontarf, will have 13 family rooms; the Peter McVerry Trust will run rooms for 11 families at a large house off the Malahide Road in the Fingal County Council area; while a 12-room facility has been secured in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area at Millmount Dundrum, under what the city council said is a “lease agreement with a private operator”.

A number of councillors have raised concerns about the use of industrial areas to house families. United Left councillor Pat Dunne said there was a danger they might become a “new form of direct provision simply to get Simon Coveney off the hook”.

Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole said he was concerned about the industrial location of Greencastle Parade. “This is an industrial estate, there aren’t any other houses there and I’d have very grave reservations about putting families somewhere where they’ll be surrounded by industrial units.”