herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Council's plan for homeless 'a slap in the face' reveals Lord Mayor

Lord Mayor Christy Burke arriving at Customs House for Fourm on Homelessness. Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Customs House, Dublin 1. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Lord Mayor Christy Burke arriving at Customs House for Fourm on Homelessness. Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Customs House, Dublin 1. Picture: Caroline Quinn

DUBLIN city council has announced that it is to spend €4.7m on refurbishing 64 city flats to house the homeless immediately.

However, the project at O'Devaney Gardens on the northside has been slammed by Lord Mayor Christy Burke as a "slap in the face" to former residents of the complex.

Many of the residents of O'Devaney Gardens had moved out and buildings had been demolished as part of a regeneration plan.

Since that time, many of the former residents have been waiting to be housed by the Government, Mr Burke said.

He said the plan to house homeless people at the complex is "absolutely ludicrous".

"If we want to go with housing homeless people we should be calling on the Church to open the convents and I will ask the Minister to address the banks to open all of the vacant sites that could be used," he said.

The council hopes to have the first homeless families moving in this month. The current cost of keeping homeless families in hotels is €3m-a-year, according to a report on the project.

Families moving into the units will have to pay utility bills and a rental charge based on ability to pay.

The report says the refurbishment will not interfere with the current regeneration of the estate and existing tenants will be given a priority in having their own homes refurbished.

Sleeping bags

Meanwhile, Mr Burke has warned that the homeless crisis in Dublin has now reached such a critical point that children will be handed sleeping bags so they can sleep rough on the streets.

There is now no more emergency hotel or B&B accommodation in the city and people who seek help from the overstretched homeless services are being told it is pointless registering because there is no space for them in town, he said.

hnews@herald.ie

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