Sunday 21 April 2019

Inside Dublin's latest hub of hope for homeless families

One of the apartments
One of the apartments

This is the latest family hub to open in the capital - set to be home to 25 families moving out of emergency accommodation.

The Clonard Road hub in Crumlin, previously used by the Irish Probation Service, had been due in the summer, but finally opened its doors to families a fortnight ago.

Salvation Army service manager, Michelle Lynch, expects families to move into the hubs for around six weeks before being given permanent social housing.

The hubs were introduced by the Department of Housing to move those living in hotels and B&Bs into more suitable temporary accommodation.

Among the hub amenities will be a number of kitchens - seen as a priority for homeless families who did not have this option while staying in hotels.

Staff Gillian Healy, Pat Bowe, Aine Hughes, Michelle Lynch, Anthony Byrne and Ailish Ni
Chearnaigh Photos: Caroline Quinn
Staff Gillian Healy, Pat Bowe, Aine Hughes, Michelle Lynch, Anthony Byrne and Ailish Ni Chearnaigh Photos: Caroline Quinn

Meals are also ordered in from a service provider.


"They will provide us with menus two days in advance for families to select. We just warm food and serve it here, so it's fresh, hot meals," Ms Lynch said.

"If you want to use a kitchen you can book in to use it, say, from 6-7pm. We have five kitchens in total."

Two types of bedrooms are available - one suitable for a parent and two children or two parents and a child, and a slightly larger one that can fit one extra person.

The beds are bunk-beds, with a single on top and a double underneath. Each bedroom also has a television, microwave and kettle.

"The majority of the families will be new to homelessness, so a lot will be working then coming back here," she said.

"We're hoping to move people on within six to eight weeks.

"This is where our housing support specialists come in, so they've got to secure Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) housing. We have private landlords ready to take families through DCC. It will be realistic for some families but not others, depending on what area they wish to live in."

The Salvation Army has staff working both day and night, but families are generally left to themselves.

"We have six staff on all day and at night we're looking at having two," Ms Lynch said.

"Our focus is about housing and additional support.

"A family might want additional support in a variety of areas. It could be mental health, it could be parenting, it could be college courses, anything.


"In the team of six we will have two housing support specialists, they work directly with the CPS and their speciality is getting people through HAP.

"Some families will be working, some of them might not, some of them will be in college," she added.

"Each family will be allocated a case worker, so each one of the six staff might have, say, five families and in that day, they make their appointments with family members and chase up family members on things like if they'd like to get back to college."

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