Dublin City Council propose to stop prioritising homeless families

by Rachel Darcy
Homeless families may no longer receive prioritised offers of social housing, under a new proposal

Homeless families may no longer receive prioritised offers of social housing, under a new proposal in the report of a review into the Scheme of Lettings by Dublin City Council.

In the report, published last week, the council have proposed that homeless families will no longer be prioritised ahead of other households who have applied before them.

The council say they will continue to assess homelessness and record it as “the basis of need”, but that several factors have contributed to their proposal to accommodate other families first.

Labour councillor and member of the sub-group on the review, Alison Gilliland, told Dublin Gazette that the proposal is being put forward to attempt to create a “fairer” approach to accommodate all families.

She said: “In the majority of cases, it takes families on non-priority lists a much longer amount of time to get to the top of their list and an allocation from DCC. This compared to much shorter waiting times for those on the homeless priority lists.

“This is causing distress to those families on non-priority lists. Therefore, the change is being put forward as a fairer approach to accommodate all families on the DCC housing list, acknowledging all families’ waiting time-on-list perspective.”

DCC said that in 2017, it provided a “higher than ever” number of homeless households with social housing, believing it to be the correct response at the time, but that it needs to be “equally conscious” of families who have been on the housing list for longer.

Cllr Gilliland added: “Until the Government changes its policy of prioritising HAP over a massive State-led local authority building programme, it won’t matter what list families are on – the fact is that demand has far outstripped supply and waiting times are unbearably long.”

Cllr Andrew Keegan (PBP) criticised the report, saying that the proposal is “moving deckchairs on the Titanic”.

Cllr Keegan told Dublin Gazette: “This review is a management exercise – worthwhile if there was a public housing building programme running parallel to the new banded system of lettings, but until you have houses to let in the numbers required, we are only moving the deckchairs on the Titanic.

“It does seem homeless families and people will be disadvantaged.”

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