herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Nearly 30 families get homes in Bargaintown furniture warehouse

Former Bargaintown warehouse in Coolock will be converted into a temporary shelter for
homeless families
Former Bargaintown warehouse in Coolock will be converted into a temporary shelter for homeless families

Almost 30 families will be housed in a former Bargaintown furniture warehouse under Housing Minister Simon Coveney's Family Hubs accommodation model.

The latest location for the scheme, on a busy industrial estate, has been called "far from suitable".

Dublin City Council has already begun work on renovating the industrial unit formerly used by the well-known retailer, on the Malahide Road Industrial Estate, Coolock, which is set to house 28 families.

The warehouse is on the corner of Greencastle Parade, next to a roundabout, in an area that experiences heavy volumes of traffic, including articulated lorries, trucks and vans going to a number of nearby units.

The property is connected to the current Bargaintown store, with conversion work understood to have been going on for four weeks.

Despite the building having operated as a warehouse and its location on an industrial estate, Dublin Regional Homeless Executive director Eileen Gleeson tried to play down the idea that families would be moving into an industrial building, during a Housing Strategic Policy (SPC) meeting on Tuesday.

Disappointed

The council doesn't require any change-of-use permissions for the site, as it is deemed as an emergency situation.

"Yes, it was an industrial building, but we have architects working on designing to build a purpose-built Family Hub-type arrangement for people to live in on a temporary basis until we can find permanent homes for them," Ms Gleeson said.

She added that, ideally, the local authority wanted to move the families to more permanent housing within six months.

"We would think six months, but it depends how long it takes to get supply in the overall housing market," she said.

However, Fianna Fail housing spokesperson Barry Cowen said he feared permanent housing would not be ready within that time frame.

He said that while the idea of Family Hubs made sense, he was disappointed with the locations chosen for some, including the Bargaintown warehouse.

"The hubs are a temporary settlement and no more than that," Mr Cowen said.

"There's merit in them, they are much more acceptable to hotels because they're geared towards families.

"You have to be disappointed in their location which is far from suitable or appropriate. It's as if you take two steps forward and three steps back."

A motion to make city councillors aware of any Family Hub plans was given full support at Tuesday's meeting after local representatives hit out at being left in the dark.

The emergency motion, by Councillor Mannix Flynn, had called for protocol to allow councillors to see full plans and drawings before any decision was made.

Meals

Coolock councillor Alison Gilliland said the Bargaintown location was not fit for children.

"It is in an industrial estate. That may not be very pleasant, especially with kids who will want to play outside in the evening," she said.

"With summer holidays approaching they'll want somewhere to play."

The Coolock hub is one of 15 planned across the whole of Dublin which are expected to house 600 families currently living in emergency accommodation.

However, so far the sites of just nine hubs have been revealed.

Last week the Herald revealed that another industrial building on Clonard Road, Kimmage, was to be used as a Family Hub.

It has since emerged that 30 families are set to be housed in the converted building.

A spokeswoman for the Homeless Executive said those living in the hubs would be allowed visitors, but would not be permitted to have anyone staying overnight.

Meals will be provided on site at the properties, while each family will have its own en-suite washing facilities.

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