Prefab homes for homeless families to cost over €12.5m

The family hub properties are to be used to end housing of parents and children in hotels

Prefabricated “portable homes” are to be used for homeless family hubs under new plans from the State’s Housing Agency.

The agency plans to spend more than €12.5 million on an initial 250 modular housing cabins which can “easily and cost effectively be relocatable” for use on sites across the State for up to five years under emergency planning powers.

Agency chief executive John O’Connor is appealing for landowners, including religious institutions, owners of industrial sites and State agencies, to come forward with sites which could be suitable for hubs of up to 20 family units.

The modular hubs will be used to end the accommodation of homeless families in hotels. When the portable homes are no longer needed they could be repurposed for other uses such as “home offices” Mr O’Connor said.


Dublin City Council had three years ago planned to use prefabricated units to accommodate homeless families, but instead chose “traditional” terraced houses provided using a “rapid-build” planning and construction system, for its sites in Ballymun and elsewhere around the city .

However, with homelessness continuing, Mr O’Connor said a faster process was needed to temporarily house families. The agency plans to put together a framework of portable home manufacturers to provide an initial 250 units, at an approximate cost of €50,000 each, plus vat.

“These are units that could be moved around the county as needed, and typically could be provided within four weeks. They would be temporary mini-houses, with support services, playgrounds, and study rooms – significantly better than a hotel , and if we get enough sites we could end the use of hotels.”

In addition to local authority lands Mr O’Connor would like temporary use of “religious or institutional land, industrial estates or State lands, including road reservation sites, such as land set aside for the Eastern Bypass.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times