Spend on Dublin’s homeless to hit €150m next year
Budget for hostels, hotels and other homeless supports up by €90m in last five years
Funding for Dublin homeless services for this year was set at €142m, and while the council expects to have exceeded this figure by year’s end, the rate of overrun has slowed, with the final tally due to come in at just under €145m
Spending on services for homeless people in Dublin is expected to reach €150 million next year, a rise of more than €90 million over the last five years.
The fund covers the provision of emergency accommodation but not permanent housing. Latest figures from the Department Housing put homeless numbers at 9,698, some 68 per cent of whom are in Dublin.
Dublin City Council, which co-ordinates the homeless budget for the Dublin region, in November 2014 budgeted just over €59 million to fund shelter and other supports for Dublin’s homeless population for the following year.
The 2015 budget for homelessness represented a substantial increase in funding after several years of cuts to the service, with funding increasing from €45.8 million to €59.2 million. The funding boost was implemented to reflect the “significant” increase in homeless numbers, council chief executive Owen Keegan said at the time, and a changing profile in the type of people presenting as homeless.
“An important and unwelcome aspect of this trend has been an increase in the number of families with dependent children presenting as homeless. Many of these households have to be accommodated on a temporary basis in hotels which is expensive and unsatisfactory.”
However, the increase of just over €13 million was not enough, and by the end of 2015 more than €70 million had been spent, largely providing hostels and hotels for Dublin’s homeless.
With the homeless problem clearly expanding, the council upped its budget for the following year to just over €91 million, but again this was insufficient and the eventual spend for 2016 topped €103 million.
In an attempt to get a handle on the problem, the budget was increased by almost €30 million for 2017 to €119 million – a figure which accounted for almost 15 per cent of the entire budget for running the city.
Again this proved inadequate, and by the end of the year €134 million had been spent. Funding for homeless services for this year was set at €142 million, and while the council expects to have exceeded this figure by year’s end, the rate of overrun has slowed, with the final tally due to come in at just under €145 million.
“The costs of service provision for homeless services have increased in 2018 over the budgeted value, although at a lower rate than previously,” Mr Keegan said. In the hope of maintaining this relative stability next year, he has set down an outlay of €149. 9 million.
The overall city council budget for 2019 will reach almost €970 million, up from €917 million last year.
Part of the increased revenue is due to come from a 10 per cent rise in on-street parking charges in high-demand areas of the city, the first parking charge increases since 2008.
Charges in the city centre “yellow zone” would rise from €2.90 to €3.60, while just outside this area the “red zone” charge would go from €2.40 to €2.60. The change is due to come into effect next July.
In addition, the cost of parking enforcement is expected to rise by €1.2 million owing to “greater requirements”, Mr Keegan said, set out by the council in its upcoming clamping contract.
Businesses can expect an increase in commercial rates of 1.1 per cent next year to provide additional funding of €3.8 million to the council. While bin collection charges for tenants in council flats are set to double from €2 to €4 per week.
The budget will be presented to councillors for approval next week.