657 homes may be fixed to help rough sleepers
DUBLIN City Council is considering refurbishing 657 properties previously earmarked for demolition in a bid to find a long-term solution to the homelessness crisis.
A new report published by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has revealed that some 4,976 adults engaged with the agency in 2014.
The city council and the Government drew up an emergency plan to deal with homelessness following the death of Jonathan Corrie near Leinster House in December.
Among the measures introduced were additional beds for people who are sleeping rough and the opening of a night cafe.
A single assessment centre for homeless families living in hotels is also due to come online under the emergency action plan.
According to the DRHE report - an update on the implementation of the plan - 729 vacant properties were put into use by the four Dublin local authorities last year. The city council is now considering refurbishing a further 657 properties.
Lord Mayor Christy Burke has praised additional supports made available to those on the streets in recent weeks.
However, he questioned the strategy of refurbishing vacant properties suggesting it would be faster to buy apartments that are ready to live in.
He also warned that "you could be wasting good money" on refurbishing some of the buildings and said he was concerned that the proposal is "really reducing the principal of the regeneration plan".
"To rush anything in relation to accommodation would be wrong. Any site earmarked for demolition and redevelopment needs to be redeveloped, not refurbished," he said.
On Wednesday night the outreach group Inner City Helping the Homeless counted 81 rough sleepers in the city centre.