Friday 15 December 2017

Homelessness crisis: Family with three young kids 'set to spend the night in city park'

Cormac Fitzgerald

A leader of a homeless charity has said that action needs to be taken immediately to address the homelessness crisis in Dublin, after a family with three young children were discovered last night about to bed down in an inner city park.

Anthony Flynn, Director of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), told that the charity was notified of a family staying in Mountjoy Square Park, in Dublin's north inner city, when they were performing outreach services in Dublin yesterday.

The family, a couple in their 30s with three children under the age of six, became homeless after they were evicted from their home in Fatima.

Mr Flynn said that the family had been denied access to emergency accommodation by the Central Placement Service in Dublin, which arranges housing for the homeless, and they were handed sleeping bags for the night.

ICHH provided shelter for the family last night and Mr Flynn said that they would be assisting them in finding a place to stay today.

"They shouldn't have been in the position where they had to bed down in Mountjoy Square last night," said Mr Flynn.

"We and other groups have been working for the morning trying to have the family placed in emergency accommodation," he said.

Mr Flynn said that the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive has confirmed to him that the family will be given accommodation tonight, and that he and other campaigners are remaining in close contact with the family.

Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy with Focus Ireland, who also made contact with the family last night, said that the Taoiseach needs to act now to stop the crisis of homelessness from getting worse

“The Taoiseach said on Sunday that families having to stay in hotel rooms is unacceptable," he said.

"The truth is that now some families can’t even get a hotel room for the night and have to sleep rough.

"This is also a serious child welfare issue as there are now over 1,300 children and their families in B&Bs and hotel rooms across Dublin.

“The very idea that a number of children have had to sleep rough in our capital city is a disgrace and a failure by the Government,” said Mr Allen.

North Inner City Councillor Gary Gannon, who grew up in the area, said that the fact that families were forced to sleep rough was shameful.

"I'm ashamed of myself of a Dublin City Councillor and I'm ashamed that it happened in my constituency.

"We're talking about recovery and we're talking about the spoils of recovery but this isn't a fair recovery, it's not a recovery for everyone.

"None of us are doing enough. There should be a war on this crisis and we're not doing it," he said.

"Dublin City Council has made great statements and they've put some initiatives in place but the fact of the matter is we need homes for people and they haven't been coming forward," he said.

ICHH confirmed that they had provided shelter for the family last night and would be assisting them in finding a place to stay today.

Latest figures show that the amount of homeless families has risen by 55pc since the beginning of this year.

Last month, Dublin City Council announced a €18.5m shortfall in their homeless services budget for 2015, with councillors warning that services could grind to halt if the problem isn't addressed.

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