€213m to be spent on homeless services next year in Dublin

by Gazette Reporter

The cost of providing homeless services in Dublin next year is expected to top €213m – an increase of more than €150m in the past six years.

Dublin City Council is increasing its budget for emergency accommodation and other services by more than €22m to a record €213m in 2021.

Spending on homeless services is the largest outlay contained in the council’s draft €1.079 billion budget for 2021, which was presented to councillors this week.

The council’s 2015 budget for homelessness saw funding increase for the first time in several years from €45.8m to €59.2m – as homeless numbers escalated. 

The local authority upped its budget for the following year to more than €91m, but again this was not enough and the eventual spend for 2016 topped €103 million.

The 2017 budget was €119m – representing almost 15% of the entire budget for running the city. By the end of the year €134m had been spent. 

Funding for homeless services for 2018 was set at €142m, and €150m in 2019, with the biggest increase to date for 2020, at €190m.

DCC projects that additional costs partly due to the pandemic will see the final tally for 2020 top €200m for the first time.

The council predicts that costs associated with managing the pandemic in the city will exceed €11m in 2021.

Loss of income – largely due to the reduction in business activity in the city, both office and retail – will reach almost €22m.

The largest losses are expected to be in parking meter collections, which are projected to drop by more than €12m. 

Tolls from the East Link bridge are expected to be down €1.9m, leisure centre charges down €1.6m, clamping charges €1m and planning application fees down €500,000.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan said the pandemic was “having a disproportionate impact on the economy of Dublin” and the city centre in particular.

Separately data from the Central Statistics Office shows that more than one fifth of new Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) households were referred from homeless services last year.

There are now more than 1,000 HAP households containing a single person with one child in each of Dublin City, Fingal and South Dublin County Council areas.

The lowest proportion of rental properties in HAP was in Dublin City and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.

According to report: “Dublin City had 498 households with a single person and one child and 458 with a single person. Fingal had 325 households with a single person and one child entering HAP, with 267 in South Dublin County.”

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