€18.5m released to help the homeless

by Gazette Reporter

Environment Minister Alan Kelly recently met Dublin City councillors and agreed to
release €18.5m extra funding for homeless services after weeks of calls for him to do so.

The public representatives said Minister Kelly promised them an extra €18.5m at a meeting late last year following the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie near Leinster House.

So far the money has not been forthcoming and councillors have been pressing the Minister for a meeting.

Apart from the issue of funding, the overall purpose of the meeting was to address the capital’s homeless crisis. It was attended by a cross-party delegation of the city’s councillors led by lord mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh (SF), with Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan and the director of the Dublin
Region Homeless Executive Cathal Morgan also present.

Dublin South-Central councillor and chairman of the council’s housing strategic policy committee, Daithi Doolan (SF), welcomed this commitment to ensure h o m e l e s s s e r v i c e s would be funded to the end of the year.

He said: “We agreed on quite a comprehensive agenda and we strived to discuss as much as possible within a limited time frame. We are satisfied that the Minister has agreed to release the funding for homeless services.”

Speaking after the meeting Lord Mayor Ni Dhalaigh said: “I welcome the commitments made by [Alan Kelly] to implement a number of proactive measures, in some key areas that will help address the immediacy of the homeless crisis in Dublin.

“While all of these measures represent very positive outcomes in the short to medium term, there remains a lot of work to be done at local level, to guarantee that we create the environment in which we can deliver on these objectives. We will be working very closely with the Minister’s Department to ensure that all the measures necessary are taken, to bring the commitments made by him to fruition,” she said.

Commitment

The councillors also said they had secured a commitment from Minister Kelly to fund
the provision of extra social housing units on sites they would identify within the next few weeks, and to turn around as many void units as the council can turn around.

There are currently 950 vacant housing units in the city that are in need of refurbishment before they are habitable. The Minister has now agreed to demands from Dublin councillors to immediately invest in bringing these units up to scratch by the end of the year.

Fianna Fail leader on Dublin City Council Paul McAuliffe, welcomed this saying it is completely unacceptable that there are nearly a thousand vacant housing units sitting idle in the city while there are “so many homeless families desperate for somewhere to go”.

“Many of these units need very little work to make them suitable homes. While the number is relatively small in terms of the housing that is needed, this measure will at least provide a much needed home to nearly a thousand families and individuals by the end of the year,” he said. He went on to say that it was essential that the Minister kept his word on this.

“Unfortunately, we have seen all too many promises from Minister
Kelly over the past few months that have resulted in nothing, and the housing and homeless crisis has got immeasurably worse,” he said.

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