Friday 17 November 2017

€4.5m spent on commercial hotels for housing homeless families in first six months of the year

There are now 1,122 homeless children in Dublin - over double the amount of last year

A homeless man walking on Dublin’s Grafton Street
A homeless man walking on Dublin’s Grafton Street

Cormac Fitzgerald

Dublin city council spent over €4.5m on hotels to house homeless families in the first six months of this year, according to new figures released yesterday.

Hotel use for housing families has increased dramatically in the last number of years, as more families continue to present as homeless with less places to house them. 

There was €5.3m spent throughout the whole year in 2014 on commercial hotels, and just €1.4m spent in 2013.

There were 531 families with 1122 children homeless in Dublin in June - more than double the amount of the same time last year.

Almost €46m was allocated for this year alone by Dublin City Council to cover all types of homeless accommodation - including hostels and supported accommodation as well as commercial hotels.

Read more: Hotels for homeless cost €7.1m in just three months

Lisa Kelleher of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive said the increased use of commercial hotels is to stop families from having to sleep rough.

"We continue to expand and implement measures to respond to the housing needs of homeless households.

"However the significant challenge remains that the level of families presenting to homeless services is not keeping a pace with the number of families that are moving out of homeless services and back into independent living," she said.

Commenting on the figures, Sinn Féin City Councillor, Daithí Doolan, said the budget for homeless services is “a lifeline to families facing homelessness on a daily basis in Dublin”.

“Without these services many families, including children, would simply not survive homelessness,” said Cllr Doolan.

Two weeks ago Dublin City Council announced a €18.5m shortfall in their yearly budget for homeless services. If the shortfall isn’t addressed councillors warn that services could halt near the end of the year. 

Doolan and other councillors, led by Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dháiligh, have requested a meeting with Environment Minister Alan Kelly to address the issue, but as of yet no solution is forthcoming.

“By not meeting with Dublin City Councillors this Government plunge these essential services deeper and deeper into crisis,” said Cllr Doolan

“These services may not operate after October unless the €18.5m shortfall is found.”

Read more: Number of homeless families continues to increase as Dublin faces 'unprecedented' housing crisis 

A spokesperson for Department of the Environment that they were engaging with the council at a senior level to address the shortfall.

“For this year, Dublin City Council sought a homelessness allocation of €55 million at a time when they already knew that the national allocation was €55 million,” said the spokesperson.

“If their request had been acceded to, no other city, town or county would have received any allocation. That was clearly not a tenable option.”

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