'Family hub was the best thing - I could finally cook a meal for my daughter'
A young mother who spent seven months in a hub for homeless families said it was "the best thing" to happen to her.
Shauna Ebbs (21) said she and her daughter Amber (2) received help and kindness at the Respond Family Hub in Tallaght, Dublin, and a lot of support to find a home of their own.
Ms Ebbs was attending the centre's official opening by Children's Minister Katherine Zappone and said that the hub allowed her to finally "cook a decent meal for my child instead of getting another takeaway meal".
The accommodation has a capacity for nine families, consisting of seven self-contained apartments, and two other families sharing a kitchen in adjoining apartments.
Ms Ebbs and Amber are among nine families who have already moved out of the hub, having been assisted in finding homes of their own to rent.
She had been living in overcrowded conditions in her mother's home and had sought emergency accommodation.
She was placed in a hotel in Naas, Co Kildare, and then moved to Dublin, first to the Gresham Hotel and then to a bed and breakfast in Gardiner Street before she received a place in the family hub.
"When I arrived the staff were so friendly and helpful," she said.
Being able to do her own laundry and go grocery shopping gave her a sense of independence, she said.
Staff member Stephanie Watson (30) helped Ms Ebbs find a rented home. While she hopes one day to get "a forever home" from South Dublin County Council, she loves having a place for herself and Amber. "I'm looking forward to putting up our Christmas tree," she said.
Ms Zappone said the 'wrap around' services in hubs give families secure homes in the short term.
Respond supports more than 8,600 people with lifetime tenancies.