herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

First look at site built by Council to test prefabs for homeless

The former Roadstone site at East Wall Rd
The former Roadstone site at East Wall Rd
Nial Ring
The former Roadstone site at East Wall Rd
The former Roadstone site at East Wall Rd

This is the test site on East Wall Road that Dublin City Council is constructing to examine a range of prefab houses that could be used to combat the homeless crisis in Dublin.

As it emerged that the council is on course to spend in the region of €6.4m on emergency accommodation for the homeless this year, work has begun on the former cement works beside North Strand Fire Station. The plan is to set up a testing ground for different designs of temporary dwellings it hopes to place around the city.

It is hoped that up to 200 of the prefab structures could be used to take people off the streets as emergency accommodation facilities are already stretched to the limit.

"As a temporary arrangement the site is being tidied up and landscaped and will have different types of prefabricated houses installed," said Dublin city councillor Nial Ring.

"The council has to see what types of houses there are out there, and how they look and function, before deciding whether they are suitable or not to meet the needs of people using them."

Cllr Ring stressed that the site will not be used as a permanent site for homes because it is earmarked to extend the facilities of the fire station beside it.

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Dublin City Council confirmed to the Herald that it has been in contact with a number of modular housing providers, who have expressed an interest in participating in the demonstration project.

"The anticipated time frame for the delivery of this project is late August or early September, and the site will be in place for a short period of two to four weeks. After that the units will be removed and the site returned to its current form," said Lisa Kelleher of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

"It is planned that the demonstration area will display a fully-fitted modular housing unit from each participating provider and will include one- and two-bedroom modular units," she added.

"The objective will be to contribute to the debate on the viability of modular housing as a temporary form of quality accommodation for the increasing numbers of households in emergency homeless accommodation, including hotels. This is due primarily to the loss of their private rented accommodation in the Dublin region."

Dublin City Council is on course to trump spending on hotels and emergency accommodation for the homeless by more than €1m in 2015.

It spent €5.3m on emergency accommodation in 2014, but has already forked out close to €1.7m for the first three months of this year.

If spending continues at this rate, a figure in the region of €6.4m will be reached by the end of the year.

The council are wasting money on this when they should be spending it on permanent solutions for families, according to Dublin City Councillor Noel Rock.

"This isn't ideal - hotel accommodation simply isn't suitable for families and should be an absolute last resort, yet it's increasingly being used by the city council.

"It's bad for families, bad value for the council and a bad solution to this problem," said Mr Rock.

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