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'We won't stop our campaign' - Apollo House activists

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The Apollo House building

The Apollo House building

The Apollo House building

Activists for Apollo House have insisted they have "no plans to stop" their campaign to provide refuge to the homeless despite the looming High Court order to vacate the building.

A spokesperson for the Irish Housing Network said that the Home Sweet Home campaign group are "exploring their options" as homeless figures in the city worsen.

"It has really already gone national in the support and donations that we have been receiving, it's happening spontaneously. People have had enough," Tommy Gavin said.

With the High Court order to vacate the premises coming into effect on January 11, Mr Gavin said that the plans for the future would be revealed next week.

This comes as figures released by the Department of Housing yesterday show that there were 1,205 families living in emergency accommodation nationally in November - an increase of 27 compared to the previous month. 1,023 of these were in Dublin.

The total homeless population in the capital last month was 5,134 adults and children, not including those who are sleeping rough.

Mr Gavin said this increase was "not surprising".

As well as 40 occupied beds, there are also 26 individuals on the waiting list for accommodation at Apollo House.

"We very strongly ask the question that if there are enough safe beds, why are there over 40 homeless people not engaging with the city council's alleged beds?," Mr Gavin said.

Terrified

"The consistent feedback we've been getting is that those beds are in environments where there are huge alcohol and drug issues and the people who would otherwise be occupying those beds are terrified of sleeping in that environment, which even so would only be for a night," he said.

Meanwhile, a mobile outreach team, which will provide food and clothing for people sleeping rough across Dublin, has become the latest group to be established in Apollo House.

Funded by donations from the public, a team of six volunteers will work between 11pm and 3am five nights a week to distribute hats, scarves, gloves, sleeping bags, blankets, hot food, tea, coffee and sandwiches to those sleeping rough.


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