herald

Sunday 28 May 2017

Coveney urges co-operation to find accommodation for last 10 residents

Simon Coveney Picture: Tom Burke
Simon Coveney Picture: Tom Burke

Housing Minister Simon Coveney is urging Home Sweet Home campaigners to continue engaging with the Peter McVerry Trust, in order to find accommodation for the 10 remaining Apollo House residents.

Organisers of the Home Sweet Home campaign are determined that the remaining residents will not leave the occupied building until their accommodation needs are properly met - despite a court order that they were to vacate by noon yesterday.

There were 10 people in need of accommodation remaining in the Nama-controlled property last night.

Eight returned on Tuesday, after initially being transferred to accommodation which they thought was not appropriate - due to drug and alcohol use.

Fr McVerry told the Herald he was confident the organisation could find suitable accommodation for those residents.

"More than 75 residents from Apollo House have already been successfully accommodated," he said.

"I think we can accommodate those [who remain in the building]."

Chief Executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle, said they would continue to assist the residents.

"We have extended an offer to the Home Sweet Home to continue to liaise with them in an ongoing basis and make available our supports," he said.

Running

In a statement, Mr Coveney said a number of measures have been taken in the past few weeks to provide accommodation.

This included three new facilities, at a cost of €6.1m, which are already up and running.

"In relation to Apollo House, the minister would encourage the representatives of the Home Sweet Home campaign to continue to engage with the Peter McVerry Trust and Dublin City Council," a spokesperson for Mr Coveney said.

The spokesperson added this should be done with "a view to making arrangements for the transition of people currently in Apollo House to alternative suitable accommodation, with appropriate supports".

Social campaigner Sister Stan said while Home Sweet Home has added another voice to the debate on the housing crisis, she was uneasy at people taking over a building in such fashion.

"I would like to see the debate widen, I would like to see the debate around the complexity of the housing crisis, not just the about numbers sleeping rough," she told RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy show.

"I have concerns about taking over a building illegally, I have a lot of concerns about that," she said.

"But it is another voice and it's important to have more and more voices."

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