Tuesday 12 December 2017

We need real home says mother of five housed by council in €870 a week hotel

Charlene Murray, with her children, Kealum, (4) Zara (10) Skye (4) JAmes (8) and Katie (12) in the Hotel
Charlene Murray, with her children, Kealum, (4) Zara (10) Skye (4) JAmes (8) and Katie (12) in the Hotel
Charlene Murray with her children, clockwise from bottom right, twins Skye and Kealum (4), James (8), Katie (12) and Zara (10). Photo: Ray Rullen

Sam Griffin

Local authorities in Dublin forked out nearly €1.4m on hotel room accommodation for homeless people last year.

Charlene Murray is one of 174 adults, as well as their child dependents, living out of an unknown number of hotels around the capital.

Such accommodation is provided for people who present to homeless services in 'an emergency situation' and do not have the resources to provide accommodation for themselves, or who are unable to access private accommodation and have exhausted family supports.

Ms Murray (29), a mother of five from Shankill, Dublin, said she became homeless when she was unable to find a suitable home for her children.

She was in receipt of a €1,000 rent allowance and said that if she had received an additional €300 per month from the Department of Social Protection she would have found a home for her and her children.

But she has since learnt that her Dublin hotel room costs around €870 per week – or just under €3,500 per month – and that others housed in the hotel are in a similar situation.

She said: "It seems absolutely crazy to be spending all that money when a small increase in the rent allowance would mean me and my children could live at home.

"It's proving incredibly difficult living out of a hotel because I can't cook dinners and have to go across the city to bring the kids to school everyday. It's a nightmare."


Figures released by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, which runs homeless services for the four councils, show the cumulative spend on hotel accommodation in 2013 was €1,356,281.

The spend in 2012 was significantly lower at €455,736.

The number of people receiving accommodation in this way fluctuates on an almost continuous basis.

However, on November 30 last year, there were 128 individuals accommodated in the capital's hotels.

The service said that accommodation was only used as a "last resort" to avoid rough sleeping and the practice was not considered to be a "sustainable solution".

A spokesman for the Homeless Executive said: "The vast majority of families who are presenting to homeless services are coming from private rental/rent supplement arrangements.

"It is our key concern that families do all within their power to present for tenancy support as early as possible."

Sinn Fein TD Dessie Ellis said the practice was against the Government's proposed 'housing-led' strategy and estimated that nearly €100,000 was being spent on hotels every week.

Meanwhile, Kildare Independent TD Catherine Murphy warned there was a "disaster on the way".

She said Social Protection Minister Joan Burton and the Government "are in absolute denial" about the housing crisis.

Irish Independent

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