herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Homeless families leave city hostel after accepting offer from council

Mum Rachel McGuinness with her daughter Courtney (Collins)
Mum Rachel McGuinness with her daughter Courtney (Collins)

Four homeless families who  refused to leave their emergency accommodation have finally struck a deal with the council for new accommodation.

The residents said they had been offered suitable temporary accommodation after an 11-day standoff at their Mountjoy Street hostel with Dublin City Council.

The council had told 13 families who lived in the hostel to vacate it by February 29.

But four of the families remained there, saying the alternative housing offered by the council was not satisfactory.

Rachel McGuinness, a mother of two, lived in the Mountjoy Street hostel for a year before having to leave.

She accepted a room in a B&B in Clontarf on Monday night, and told the Herald: “There was no other offer for me.”

Complaint

“It’s not that bad, but I’m in one room with two kids,” she added. “Before [on Mountjoy Street], we were in a two-bed apartment.”

Rachel (24) also said she had lodged a complaint about an incident with people she believes are DCC staff members.

Rachel alleges the men tried to remove her belongings before she moved out. At Mountjoy Street, Rachel paid a little over €20 a week in rent for herself and her two children, with the council making up the difference.

The families were originally told they would have to leave just seven days before the February deadline.

The Irish Housing Network, which has supported the families since they were given notice to move, said it was a “win” for the homeless families concerned.

 “Families are now satisfied that they can move into new temporary accommodation in anticipation of securing more permanent housing,” they said.

“For the families involved, succeeding in securing suitable accommodation means succeeding in finding accommodation near to their children’s schools and their wider family,” they added.

Unclear

But it’s unclear how long the families will be able to stay in their new housing.

Dublin City Council previously offered hotel accommodation to some of the families involved.

But the offer was refused as members of each family would have been housed in separate parts of the hotel. Others did not accept the offer because it was far away from relatives and their children’s schools.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said the emergency accommodation on Mountjoy St had been arranged through a private landlord, and that the contract had ceased at the end of February.

She added that the DRHE had not evicted the households concerned, and had accompanied them to viewings of alternative accommodation.

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