Fingal councillor highlights plight of 402 homeless children

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

Paul Mulville, (Fingal councillor for Rush-Lusk LEA) has called for urgent action to address the plight of 402 homeless children and families under the remit of Fingal County Council.

The Social Democrats councillor stated: “Homeless figures released to me by council management last week reveal that as of May 31 last,  there are 168 families, comprising 255 adults and 402 children, under FCC’s remit – and in the Housing Minister’s own electoral area –  who are accessing emergency accommodation on a regular basis.

Many are housed temporarily in hotel and B&B emergency accommodation.

“These are children on the Fingal housing waiting list, and whose families this council has a statutory responsibility to house, with clear evidence now emerging that the ranks of the homeless include frontline healthcare, educational and care workers, as well as our vital trades and building workers.”

“We cannot just sit back and allow the plight of our 402 local homeless children pass us by.  It is widely accepted, and has been highlighted for example by Temple Street Children’s Hospital, that homelessness can severely inhibit the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioural development of children. 

“Temple Street has made it clear that homeless children, with no choice but to be brought up in temporary emergency homeless accommodation, enduring cramped conditions without appropriate cooking, washing or play facilities, are more likely to experience major developmental delays and to suffer from emotional problems.  

“By the time homeless children reach school age, their homelessness affects their social, physical, and academic lives.”

However, a spokesperson for FCC stated the council’s primary aim is very much to prevent homelessness.

“We are totally committed to assisting households currently accessing emergency accommodation and helping them to move on to more permanent and sustainable accommodation.

“While the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) is responsible for sourcing Emergency Accommodation (EA) on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities, the Homeless Assessment Team in Fingal continue to engage with the DRHE in relation to our homeless clients, and we arrange the completion of homeless assessments, determining eligibility of Homeless HAP and updating relevant records to ensure that the most up to date information is available so that we can assist the families concerned and provide advice and supports for them as required.”

The Region has designated Housing Support Officers and Key Workers, who work with families who are currently accessing emergency accommodation.

He continued: “The DRHE provides assistance to families via the Place Finders Service to help them source properties to avail of the elevated rates of Homeless HAP, which was introduced as a significant pathway to exit homelessness.        

“Every effort is made to assist and support families exit homelessness and Fingal further provides assistance in a number of ways, liaising and providing advice on Choice Base Lettings, waiting lists, HAP supports, etc.”

With a new initiative announced between the four councils in Dublin (see pages 1 and 2), it is anticipated that exit options will be increasing through “the delivery of a strong supply of new housing stock, of varying tenure types, coming on stream in the county.”

Cllr Mulville appealed to both government and Fingal to fund and commence construction at  at a council owned site on New Road, Donabate, with full planning permission for circa 150 homes (using the Ó Cualann model, along the lines of the massively oversubscribed affordable housing schemes at Dun Emer, Lusk, and Hayestown in Rush).

He also called for the immediate commencement of works to provide subsidised accommodation for nursing and hospital staff at St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane. 

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