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Thursday 14 December 2017

B&B to be turned into €2m 'family hub' for homeless

19 and 20 St Lawrences Road, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
19 and 20 St Lawrences Road, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

Homeless families will move into a €2m "hub" in Clontarf from next month, despite an outcry from residents.

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) has said 13 families will be accommodated in a former B&B on St Lawrence Road.

However, the property - bought for almost €2m by the Housing Agency on the DRHE's behalf - has been labelled as "absolutely ridiculous" by a leading homelessness campaigner.

Two red-brick homes that formerly operated as a B&B are being converted into a hub for homeless families currently living in hotels. People with substance abuse problems will not be accommodated.

Unsuitable

The DRHE said the use of commercial hotels was "unsuitable", and the new hubs would provide play spaces, cooking and laundry facilities and communal recreation spaces.

Sixty families present as homeless every month, and the cost of the property was "weighted against the cost of commercial hotels for homeless families which was €40m in 2016", a spokeswoman said.

Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, expressed his disappointment at the amount spent on the properties, saying it would have been better spent on apartments.

"The price they purchased the two properties for is absolutely ridiculous," he said.

"The money could have been reinvested into purchasing apartments and could have housed a lot more families.

"There is no long-term prospect in it. A lot of these families are going to be left in these units for a long time, even though they're told they're not going to be.

"Families are looking for long-term homes, homes for life."

Local residents have complained that they were not consulted about the project, but insisted they were not opposed to housing homeless families.

They said the property was unsuitable and individual apartments in the area should have been bought instead.

The Clontarf Residents' Asso- ciation said six apartments were currently for sale in the area which would cost €1.52m.

The DHRE, which is part of Dublin City Council, said it was committed to developing community relations with local residents.

The Housing Agency said the property was good value, and as it operated as a B&B there was no requirement to seek new planning permission.

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