Council set to double spend on homelessness to €2.4m
Housing and homelessness services are due to see an increase in spending under the council's budget for next year.
South Dublin County Council (SDCOCO) has proposed a draft budget of some €225m for 2016, which councillors are due to vote on tomorrow.
Under the planned expenditure, the homelessness budget for 2016 has been increased to some €2.4m, a 50pc rise on last year's spend.
Chief executive Daniel McLoughlin said that the spend increase reflects the scale of the crisis that the council is managing. The budget allocation is three times what it was for the year before, when it was €794,000.
Councillors have also proposed a €600,000 capital spend for further supported accommodation for homeless men and for the provision of a woman's refuge. Spending on housing will increase by €4.5m to €66.2m from €61.7m.
Nicola Moore, one of the organisers of VISIT Tallaght, a group which distributes food, clothing and tents to people in the Tallaght area, said that she hopes the new funding will translate into more services.
"There are not enough services for homeless people in this area. They are generally sent to town and that's not fair on them because it is taking them away from everything they know," she said.
Next year will also see the introduction of a €100,000 fund for a pilot Traveller caravan loan scheme.
The model due to be used by the council is based on the Fingal County Council scheme, which was recommended by local Traveller advocacy groups.
Under the pilot scheme, people who avail of the grants will be able to have their repayments deducted directly from social welfare payments.
The move was welcomed by Sinn Fein councillor Eoin O'Broin, who has been pushing for the scheme's re-establishment.
"Some families are living in caravans or trailers that are in a very, very bad state of disrepair. The council has a responsibility to meet people's housing needs," he said.
Mr O'Broin said he was satisfied with a "very good budget" that would be used to further key projects in the west-Dublin area.
"There is a lot of spending increases, including more money for building, home improvements, path maintenance and tree pruning. We do need much more than what's there for housing," he acknowledged.
The council will also add 50 new frontline staff in 2016 which Mr McLoughlin said will allow for further service improvements.
A total of €500,000 has been allocated for the play-space programme across the area and it is hoped that 14 playgrounds can be delivered next year. A further €1.2m will also be ring-fenced for village enhancements which will benefit Rathcoole and Lucan among other villages in the council district.
Funding has been skimmed in the areas of agriculture, environment and miscellaneous services in the upcoming budget. The budget also accounts for a 15pc property tax reduction for residents, costing the council around €4.6m in lost revenue.
Some 80pc of the property tax will be spent locally.