Tourist season sees fewer hotel rooms for Dublin’s homeless

Hotels turn down offers from homeless executive in favour of accommodating visitors

Availability of hotel rooms for Dublin's homeless is running out because of competition with tourists over the summer months, director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive Cathal Morgan has said.

Hotel owners were turning down offers of full-rate payments for rooms from the executive Mr Morgan said, in favour of accommodating the summer tourist trade.

“There will be a problem during the summer. We are making 200 placements to hotels a day,” Mr Morgan said.

“We are not getting a reduction in room rates, but often they are saying to us that they don’t need our business.”

He said the council needed to move away from using private hotels for emergency accommodation for homeless individuals and families.

“We have to find other solutions, we need to try to get away from using commercial hotels.”

The number of homeless children in Dublin reached 1,122 at the end of June and just under 800 of them are living in hotels.

Shortfall

The council's head of housing Dick Brady last Monday told councillors the city is facing a shortfall of €18.5 million in funding from the Department of the Environment for homeless services this year.

Mr Brady said he has been told by the department it would be allocating €37.1 million to fund homeless services in the city in 2015, despite the council having sought €55 million from central Government to run the service, which has a full cost of €68 million for the year.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Críona Ní Dhálaigh said she had contacted Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly after the meeting and he had agreed to meet her as well as other councillors and council officials to discuss the issue.

Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam pointed out the letter from the department had been sent on June 2nd and asked why it was only bought to councillors last week.

He also asked whether more money might be released from the department later in the year and whether Mr Brady was “playing politics”.

Mr Brady said he had been in budget discussions with officials in the department since the letter was received in an attempt to bridge the gap.

The council would expect to receive an allocation of funds later in the year, but he said the council needed to have certainty that it would be able to fund the homeless service.

“There was no attempt to play politics, this is too important to play politics with.

“If we get to the end of the year and we get into the position where there isn’t the money to run the service, it would be a poor reflection on us if we didn’t make that clear now.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times

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