herald

Tuesday 20 November 2018

'Hotels not appropriate for homeless families' - Murphy

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy says 450 more family hubs will be rolled out before the end of the year
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy says 450 more family hubs will be rolled out before the end of the year

Hotels are not an appropriate first response to homelessness, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has said - despite more than 1,700 homeless families still being accommodated in commercial hotels.

The minister said that a further 450 family hub spaces will be rolled out in 2018 in an effort to combat the issue.

Yesterday, the Herald revealed that 96 commercial hotels were being used as emergency accommodation.

Deadline

These are understood to include B&Bs and other forms of emergency, first-response accommodation.

This comes just about a year since a deadline was set by his predecessor in the Department of Housing, Simon Coveney (inset), to have all homeless families out of hotels.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Murphy said there had been progress but more needed to be done.

"Hotels are not an appropriate first response," Mr Murphy said.

"No family should be in a hotel. That's why we have the hub programme.

"We also have to recognise that every family has unique circumstances and we have to tailor their needs appropriately to make sure that, as we look after those families and get them into a sustainable pathway for care, we do it in the best way for them," he said.

Mr Murphy defended the work of his department in the year since he took on the position as minister, saying that 2,000 families have moved out of homelessness in that time.

Mr Murphy said in that space of time 500 family hub spaces have been created for families across the city.

He said that this figure will be almost doubled across the rest of this year.

"In that period of time we've delivered more than 500 additional family hub spaces and there's another 450 family hub spaces to come in the coming months out towards the end of this year," he said.

Caring

"We have to make sure that our first response to people when they enter emergency accommodation is the most compassionate and caring response, and one that's tailored to make sure that in that crisis we're meeting people's needs adequately," he added.

However, despite the minister pointing to progress, Dublin Region Homeless Executive chief Eileen Gleeson said last week that the figure for those entering homelessness was on the rise.

According to official figures, in the minister's time in office the number of homeless families has jumped from 1,429 families in July 2017 to 1,712 for the end of April - a rise of almost 300 families.

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