Dublin Housing Executive issue statement following photo of sleeping children in Tallaght Garda Station
"On the night of the 8 August 2018, an unprecedented number of families presented out of hours seeking emergency accommodation."
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has issued a statement following the publication of an image depicting a number of children asleep on rows of metal chairs in a Dublin Garda Station in lieu of available emergency accommodation.
The image was taken by a mother of seven children who had to resort to seeking shelter in Tallaght Garda Station following a series of failed attempts at applying for emergency accommodation.
“The DRHE is very aware of the difficult circumstances that families experiencing homelessness have to face," the statement began.
"We endeavour on any given night to offer an emergency response to every family who presents with a housing need in the Dublin Region, and we have a large number of additional contingency beds in operation for when this occurs.
"In addition, we have an arrangement in place for families to be supported by the Focus Ireland Family Homeless Action Team in the following circumstances:
- To act as a safety net for families deemed to have no eligibility for social housing support due to residency/income or other criteria
- To support eligible families with larger family sizes or who, for other reasons, were having difficulty getting a booking in a commercial hotel
- To verify the identity of families who present outside of hours seeking accommodation.
"On the night of the 8 August 2018, an unprecedented number of families presented out of hours seeking emergency accommodation," the statement reads.
"We were notified by the Family Homeless Action Team that they were actively engaged with 10 families, who were unable to source their own accommodation.
"Our Central Placement Team were able to source emergency accommodation for five of the families, one family refused the offer of accommodation, two of the families were linked back in with their region (outside of Dublin) and two did not seek further assistance.”
According to their website, the DRHE "is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority in the response to homelessness in Dublin and adopts a shared service approach across South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council."
The organisation also issued a Government response stating work is in progress to continue the use of hotels and other types of accommodation to expand their continued emergency shelter for families in need.
The statement in full can be read below:
"Addressing homelessness is a priority for this Government and we are absolutely committed to increasing the delivery of housing to ensure that we can deliver solutions for those experiencing homelessness.
"We are determined as a Government to increase the stock of social housing by 50,000 homes by 2021 under Rebuilding Ireland, with the necessary funding ring-fenced to achieve this.
"Over 4,700 exits from homelessness into homes were achieved in 2017. We are working to exceed this in 2018.
"Given the continuing number of families presenting to homeless services, as well as the continuing use of hotels, Minister Murphy commenced a Rapid Hub Programme in early January that will see additional family hub places added to the existing hubs.
"Family hubs offer family living arrangements with a greater level of stability than is possible in hotel accommodation, with the capacity to provide appropriate play-space, cooking and laundry facilities, and communal recreation space, while move-on options to long-term independent living are identified and secured.
"There are currently 21 ‘hubs’ in operation (18 in Dublin, 2 in Limerick and 1 in Kildare) providing over 500 units of family accommodation.
"The Department is working closely with the local authorities on the development of further family hubs. A range of options are being pursued, aimed at introducing at least 400 further units of accommodation for families experiencing homelessness. Families residing in the hubs are supported by the operators of the hubs and the local authorities to exit into independent tenancies.
"One of the measures put in place to support families, through the use of HAP, was the establishment of a Homeless HAP Placefinders service in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, which leads the response to homelessness in the four Dublin local authorities, and in Cork early in 2017.
"The Homeless HAP service supports families in emergency accommodation by nominating them to viewings with the Placefinders Service, and encouraging and supporting them to find private rented accommodation themselves," the statement continues.
"Over 2,000 families are now being supported by the scheme. Following the success of the scheme in Dublin and Cork, the scheme was introduced into all local authorities earlier this year.
"A national Director of Housing First has been appointed to work with the most vulnerable of the homeless population.
"A high-level Inter-Agency Group established by Minister Murphy also continues to meet to ensure a more cohesive Government response to homelessness, including increased efforts in the area of prevention."
An Inner City Helping Homelessness (ICHH) spokesperson recently spoke to JOE stating that the organisation believes that homeless families currently in emergency accommodation in Dublin city centre will be affected by Pope Francis' visit.
The visit will see a huge spike in demand for hotel rooms and rental accommodation as thousands of tourists flock to the city for the World Meeting of Families from 21 to 26 August.
Main image via: @AnthonyICHH