Kelly’s €18.5m ‘promise’ for homeless is in doubt

by Staff Reporter

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has agreed to meet Dublin City councillors to discuss the housing crisis in Dublin, but it is unlikely that the extra €18.5m in funding being sought by the council will be released.
Councillors say they were promised the extra €18.5m in December to bring the Dublin homeless budget from €37m to €55m, and are requesting that this funding be released.
Inner City Helping Homeless director Anthony Flynn said instances of homelessness had increased in 2015 and the situation was now at crisis point.
“We have a very serious problem on our hands, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive are owed in excess of €18.5m from the department. Minister Kelly has promised additional funding in December 2014 on foot of the death of Jonathan Corrie on Dublin’s streets with no sign of it forthcoming,” he said, adding that the Minister was now putting lives at risk across the city.
“With the clear increase of children and families presenting as homeless we now need to declare a crisis, this can no longer be brushed under the carpet,” he said.
This follows the release of figures showing an increase of children living in emergency accommodation with a rise of up to 1,122 children registered at the end of June 2015. Figures also show that a further 75 families were made homeless in June.
However, a spokesperson from the Department of Environment said this extra funding was not promised, but the council was told that there would be opportunities to switch additional funding to homelessness later in the year if savings are made in other areas of Departmental expenditure.
The spokesperson went on to say the national budget for homelessness is €55m and if the council’s request had been granted, no other city, town or county would have received any allocation.
“That was clearly not a tenable option,” said the spokesperson.
However, the spokesperson went on to say the Minister was committed to achieving a satisfactory outcome to the discussions.
“Last year, a similar process resulted in an extra €4m being allocated to Dublin to tackle homelessness,” said the spokesperson.
Speaking to The Gazette, the council’s housing committee chairman Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF) said: “We will be going to this meeting in earnest, with a clear focus on delivering the funding for homeless services.”
He went on to say that the only way the housing crisis could be dealt with was through building social houses in Dublin.
The Department spokesperson outlined a number of measures being undertaken including 36 units of emergency accommodation to come on stream soon and 100 housing units currently being acquired by the council for homeless families.

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