Eight families with children in adult shelters
Published 25/05/2016 | 02:30
Eight families with children have been provided with shelter in adult emergency accommodation in May as the homelessness crisis continues to escalate.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the practice - which Dublin City Council says happens only as a last resort - was unacceptable.
He was responding to questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who called the latest homelessness figures, showing more than 2,000 children in emergency accommodation, "truly appalling and worrying".
Mr Kenny told the Dáil: "It is not acceptable to anybody that you have big numbers of children, or any children, in bed and breakfasts or hotel rooms or having to go into adult accommodation late at night when there's no other accommodation available."
Mr Kenny said Housing Minister Simon Coveney "is working and will work flat out to see how we can best deal with this because it is an emergency situation that applies nationally".
Earlier, Mr Coveney said he was "not happy" about adult shelters being used to accommodate homeless children.
"Of course I'm not happy about it. But I mean there's a lot of things linked to homelessness I'm very unhappy about which is why there's a sense of urgency now to change and improve the outcomes for many people who are relying on the State to find a home."
A Dublin City Council statement confirmed that eight families with children have availed of a one-night-only placement into emergency accommodation for homeless adults so far this month.
It said the measure was a "last resort" to "avoid the risk of the family sleeping rough".
Families were accommodated in secure and defined areas that were separate from other adult service users, the council said.
"Each family was contacted the next morning by a member of the Family Homeless Action Team. The team then works with Dublin City Council's Homeless Central Placement Service to provide more suitable, alternative accommodation," the statement added.
Mr Coveney spoke of the latest homelessness numbers, saying: "It is not acceptable that families are living in hotel rooms. It's not acceptable, to be honest, that we're spending nearly €50m on hotel rooms this year to accommodate families in totally unsuitable accommodation.
"It's not acceptable that many of them will be there for more than six months.
"This is a product of a failed housing market that government has a responsibility to address directly.
"And that is my number one focus for the lifetime of this government, however long it lasts," Mr Coveney added.