Rapid-build housing for homeless families completed in Finglas

First rapid-build housing finished since 22 homes in Ballymun in April 2016

St Helena’s Drive, Finglas, Dublin 11. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

St Helena’s Drive, Finglas, Dublin 11. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Work has finally been completed on the first “rapid-build” homes delivered since 22 houses for homeless families were built in Ballymun in Dublin almost a year and a half ago.

The first 21 residents of the newly-built estate at St Helena’s Drive in Finglas have in recent days been given keys to their new homes, with 18 more families due to move in over the next two to three weeks.

Three more rapid-build estates at sites in Darndale, Cherry Orchard and Drimnagh, with a total 130 homes, are due to be ready for families within the next month to five weeks, Dublin City Council’s head of housing Brendan Kenny said.

In December 2015, with the Ballymun site under construction, the council issued tenders for the Finglas, Darndale, Cherry Orchard and Drimnagh houses with a completion date of June 2016. However, it cancelled the tender in March as potential housing providers believed the deadline was unrealistic.

The council issued fresh tenders for each of the sites, with completion deadlines from October to December last. However, the first homes are only now ready for occupation by tenants.

The estate of 39 houses in Finglas is the most advanced of the four projects.

At the next largest development, 38 houses at Belcamp in Darndale, 19 will be finished by the third week in September, with the balance at the beginning of October. At Mourne Road in Drimnagh, 29 houses will be completed by the middle of September, while at Cherry Orchard, 24 homes are scheduled for completion by late September or early October.

“The average time it has taken to complete these houses is 17-18 months. People might think that’s a long time, but it’s lot better than conventional housing which takes up to three years,” Mr Kenny said.

The provision of the new homes would mean 130 families were taken out of hotel emergency accommodation. However, not all those families would be allocated to the four new estates, Mr Kenny explained.

“In the main it will be families living in hotels who are moving in, but we were somewhat worried about putting all families from hotels into the one complex. What we’ve done is allocate some of the homes to tenants living in the local area who wanted to transfer, and then their home can be allocated to a homeless family,” he said.

“One of the main objections from local residents when we started this was that it would all be homeless families in the houses, but those objections have fortunately died down now that we have decided to have a mix.”

The council has in recent weeks awarded contracts for another 70 rapid-build homes. ABM Construction, which built the Finglas and Drimnagh homes, is to build 53 houses on Health Service Executive lands in Ballyfermot, 13 houses at Rathvilly Park in Finglas and four houses at Woodbank Drive in Finglas.

Mr Kenny said he was confident the time taken to build the new houses could be reduced to nine to 10 months.