Council housing families in hotels

by Ian Begley

RECENT figures reveal that 37 families seeking accommodation are currently being housed by South Dublin County Council in emergency accommodation in local hotels.
The council has allocated accommodation to 42 people on its homeless list in the first quarter of 2014, while 37 families are now temporarily housed in hotel accommodation.
The cost of hotel accommodation used for emergency purposes is calculated and paid for on a regional basis through Dublin City Council as the lead authority.
The cost for South Dublin County alone is not available.
A spokesperson from the council said: “It should be noted that due to a serious shortage of family emergency accommodation in the Dublin region, this council has had no option but to increase the use of commercial hotels in order to accommodate families on a temporary basis.
“[The council] is experiencing an increase in the number of families presenting to [its] homeless services unit as a direct result of increasing private market rental prices; [and the] lack of private rented accommodation accepting rent supplement, and current rent supplement caps.
“The matter of use of hotel accommodation is a concern and a number of alternatives are being investigated as a matter of urgency on a regional basis by the Dublin Regional Homeless Agency, on behalf of the four local authorities,” said the spokesperson.
Cllr Eoin O Broin (SF) believes emergency funding should be put in place to tackle the “rapidly deepening housing crisis”. He said: “Over the past number of months, there has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of families seeking emergency accommodation from [the council].
“Some 37 of these families are being put up on a nightly basis in hotels across the county. Others are simply being offered a list of homeless services in Dublin city centre.
“As the gap between rent supplement levels and market rents continues to grow, families on social welfare are being priced out of the rental market,” he said.
According to figures released by the council, a total of 1,062 individuals sought assistance from the homeless services unit from this January to March.
Deputy Robert Dowds (Lab) spoke to The Gazette about this issue, saying that he believes there is an “urgent need” for a housing programme in south County Dublin.
He said: “Unfortunately, this is something that I’ve been aware of for some time, and I suppose what it points to is an urgent need for a housing programme.
“Among various other Labour TDs, I drew up a document which was presented to Jan O’Sullivan [the Minister for Housing and Planning] arguing both for more money to go into social housing and also to kick-start private housing construction.
“I’m very conscious of this matter, because I would say half the queries that I get are connected to housing issues. It’s a real, urgent issue and I absolutely agree that it should be addressed,” he said.
Local election candidate in Lucan Paul Gogarty [Ind] said it is “shocking” that families seeking emergency accommodation are still being placed in hotels.
He said: “The council has the opportunity to address the issue quicker by integrating a proper social mix in houses that [are being] built in developments such as Adamstown, rather than trying to figure out which houses to buy depending on the market conditions in private housing developments elsewhere around the county.”

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