Saturday 20 January 2018

Bargaintown warehouse is latest 'family hub' developed for homeless

Warehouse 'not appropriate for use by homeless'

The building to be used for emergency homes. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
The building to be used for emergency homes. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

Ryan Nugent

The latest "family hub" in an industrial estate in Dublin's northside is not suitable to house homeless families, according to Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen.

Dublin City Council (DCC) has already begun work on renovating a warehouse formerly used by Bargaintown furniture in the Malahide Road Industrial Estate, Coolock - which is set to house up to 40 families.

The site is located at the corner of Greencastle Parade, next to a roundabout - an area which experiences heavy volumes of traffic, including large articulated lorries, trucks and vans going to a number of nearby industrial warehouses, such as building suppliers and interior factories.

The property is connected to the current Bargaintown store.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Cowen said that while he had not been to the sites of these hubs yet, he expected better locations for families who are currently staying in hotels.

"There's merit in them, they are much more acceptable to hotels, because they're geared towards families," he said.

"You have to be disappointed in their location, which is far from suitable or appropriate.

"It's as if you take two steps forward and three steps back."

It is one of 15 hubs planned across the whole of Dublin that are expected to house an estimated 600 families currently living in emergency accommodation.

Nine of these hubs have already been named, with DCC yet to provide details of the other six.

Of the nine already listed, five of them are hotels, which will be reclassified by the city council as family hubs.

Dublin Regional Homeless Executive director Eileen Gleeson attempted to play down the Bargaintown location during a city council meeting on Tuesday.

"Yes, it was an industrial building, but we have architects working on designing to build a purpose-built family-type arrangement for people to live on a temporary basis until we can find permanent homes for them," Ms Gleeson said.

Despite intentions by the local authority to have these families moved out to more permanent housing within six months, Ms Gleeson said that this would be "in an ideal world".

"We would think six months, but it depends how long it takes to get supply, really, in the overall housing market," she added.

A spokeswoman for the Homeless Executive said that those living in the hubs will be allowed visitors, but will not be permitted to have anyone stay overnight.

Meals will be provided on-site at the properties, while each family will have their own en suite washing facilities.

City councillors have backed a motion for future protocol on any family hub plans after they were left in the dark over the current sites until they were finalised.

Irish Independent

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