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Staff member in homeless facility 'took child by neck'

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A homeless mother alleged her child was grabbed by the neck by a staff member at their emergency accommodation, while another said her family was moved into a room with drug needles.

These were among a slew of complaints made to the Dublin Homeless Regional Executive about emergency accommodation last year and released to the Irish Independent following a Freedom of Information request.

Among the issues raised by homeless families were:

:: Plug sockets in bedrooms "smoking and sizzling";

:: Mice and rats in bedrooms and kitchen cupboards;

:: A mother being refused a bowl and spoon for her daughter because it was "after breakfast time";

:: Another mother complained a mould problem was making her children sick.

In May, a complaint was made claiming an emergency accommodation staff member had "grabbed a child by the neck", leaving a mark.

It was also alleged the staff member swore at the child for playing inside the accommodation.

A representative for the family said "they will no longer live in the house" as a result.

A woman complained in March there was a "reluctance to clean illegal substances" from the room when she moved into it with her family.

She wanted to know why there had been "no sharps box used in the disposal of needles (when staff eventually cleaned up), why staff disposed of the needle, tinfoil, tray of tablets, empty bottles of vodka, in a plastic bag, in a wheelie bin in the carpark, putting the bin men at risk".

The family said the accommodation was "an amazing facility for families, however they are not welcome to use the space" due to the "attitude of staff" and there being no "facilities for tea or television".

A representative for another woman asked the accommodation provider to allow her to have visitors to help her look after her baby on occasions. They asked for an exception to the "no visitor rule" to allow the woman to socialise.

"A family member cannot visit a baby to babysit resulting in the women residents never being able to go out past 9pm," the complaint noted. "This is very isolating and compounds the mental trauma of being homeless for these families."

Separately, another woman claimed a manager had on numerous occasions between January and March 2018 entered her room at midnight "unexpectedly while me and my family are asleep".

Another mother said there was an "outbreak of bedbugs" in her hotel in July. "My room was badly affected. When I noticed bites on myself and my children, I brought it to the attention of (a staff member).

"He accused me of bringing the bedbugs in myself. I was really upset by this."

Irish Independent