Emergency accommodation extended for former residents of Metro Hotel following blaze
Emergency accommodation has been extended for former residents of the Metro Hotel in Ballymun following a large fire last month.
More than 60 firefighters from eight crews were needed to battle the major blaze at the complex in Ballymun near Dublin Airport which broke out on March 21.
Independent Dublin Councillor Noeleen Reilly told Drivetime on RTÉ Radio 1 that emergency accommodation has been secured for the next week for the former residents of the 21 private apartments of the Metro Hotel and Apartment Complex.
"The families received emergency accommodation that the Metro would have paid for. There were also two payments, one payment was of €2,000 if all your belongings were gone out of the apartment or €1,000 if you were able to retrieve your belongings. That's all they received. "
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Cllr Reilly said that the families are still "in shock".
"They're still traumatised. They don't know where they'll be this day next week. In the last hour, we have secured emergency accommodation for the next week for them in the Travel Lodge in Ballymun, so that's something. Dublin City Council is supporting them there which is great.
"They're living day-to-day at this stage. They don't know where they are going to be. They're actually relieved today to hear that they have somewhere to stay tomorrow night but this day next week we'll be having the same conversation about where are they going to go. The Travel Lodge is currently used as emergency accommodation for homeless families. I'm surprised they had this number of spare rooms but I welcome it."
The Ballymun representative said that Dublin City Council need to come up with a strategy and fast track the HAP payment for the families.
Families have been offered student accommodation next door to where they have been living, but Cllr Reilly claims that this is not suitable for families.
"I haven't come across one family that was dependant on social welfare. The families that I have been helping are all working. They weren't on DCC housing lists or anything. It has gone against them in this situation.
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"We've a complete lack of strategy in terms of aftermath of fires or emergencies like this. There has been nothing put in place for these families. They're just looking for a roof over their heads," she added.
In a statement to Drivetime, Dublin City Council said that they were working with the families affected by the Metro fire.
"A small number of calls were received in the placement service of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) the morning after the fire. They were advised to contact the community welfare officer for emergency needs and those seeking accommodation were advised to contact the DRHE. Since then, one family made contact with the DRHE and the family was advised to present to Park Gate Hall but they didn't give their names and subsequently didn't present themselves. One other family did present and were given emergency accommodation which they refused. Until today, they are the only interactions we've had in connection to the fire at the Metro Hotel.
"Today, a number of families presented to our homeless central placement centre at Park Gate Hall. Due to the extenuating and difficult circumstances that these families have found themselves in, we will in the interim be providing emergency accommodation for all of those who presented today, pending assessment of their homeless applications."
In response, Noeleen Reilly said that the statement was "nonsense".
"The very first phonecall that I made was to homeless services. I was standing there with a number of families outside their home that had been burnt to the ground.
"I was told that it had nothing to do with the city council and that it was up to the Metro Hotel and that they should go to the community welfare officer. Perhaps that's why families didn't present themselves."
On their website, the Metro Hotel says that a number of supports have been put in place for residents following the fire.
"Following a traumatic week for everyone impacted by last week’s fire Metro Hotel has sought to provide very significant supports, focused in particular on former tenants of 21 apartments attached to the hotel. The hotel continues to support and assist former residents’ ongoing search for longer term accommodation, mindful that the tenants themselves are best placed to assess their individual requirements," the statement reads.
The Metro also lists a number of procedures they have carried out such as returning deposits and pre-paid rent as well as "working around the clock to assist former tenants to source longer term accommodation".