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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Abusive staff, rodents – two of over 100 complaints by homeless in emergency accommodation

A number of complaints were lodged by people living in emergency accommodation
A number of complaints were lodged by people living in emergency accommodation
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

More than 100 complaints were lodged with authorities about problems in emergency accommodation, including one from a man who was called a "whinging culchie b*****d" by a cleaner.

The man was given a formal apology from the manager of a homeless unit following the incident which occurred on February 6 last, while the cleaner received a verbal warning from her bosses for her statement.

In a complaint to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), which co-ordinates services across Dublin for homeless people, the man described the woman's verbal abuse as "despicable behaviour".

The man said he had requested a new base for his bed as he underwent an operation on his spine and needed a level surface to sleep on.

A few hours later the man wrote that the cleaner "came into my bedroom and called me a whinging culchie b*****d for requesting a base for my bed . . . she repeated this on two or three occasions".

A senior member of staff at the establishment contacted the DHRE also to assure them the matter was dealt with. Both the staff member that wrote the email and the house manager had apologised to the client for the incident. The cleaner was also due to apologise to him.

When asked about the events the cleaner said that the remark was "meant in jest and that she didn't mean to cause offence".

Copies of the 113 complaints made between January and November 25, 2015 were released to the Irish Independent under Freedom of Information laws.

The complaints were made by residents of emergency accommodations or by project workers working with families living in accommodation including hostels and hotels.

Some referenced mice infestations, while residents also reported bed bugs and cockroaches in some of the dwellings. One family in emergency accommodations had a scabies infestation in early November.

In some instances complaints about housing maintenance issues were found not to be backed up by evidence following inspections by staff.

The majority of the complaints are marked resolved the records show.

A number of people complained about the unsuitability of their hotel accommodation due to noise, late bar opening hours and a lack of facilities.

Several parents also raised concerns about the condition of their accommodation which they feared was having an adverse impact on their children's' health.

In one case a project worker complained on behalf of a family with a terminally ill three year old who is prone to seizures.

The family had experienced problems with access and feared that if an ambulance was needed it may not be able to access the complex.

Irish Independent

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