Activists criticise council’s prefabricated housing plans

Homeless activists have criticised a local authority’s plans to house people in prefabricated units.

Tommy Gavin, a spokesperson for the Irish Housing Network, described Dublin City Council’s plans as “ghettoising the poor”.

“The decision to house the homeless in prefabricated structures amounts to the creation of new slums, and is no solution at all,” he said.

“Everyone has the right to quality housing, and this short-term thinking of using prefabs boils down to punishing people for having the nerve to fall through gaps that are widening.”

According to figures released by the council, 1,975 adults were accommodated on a nightly basis in the second quarter of 2015.

More than 556 of those are families accompanied by 1,185 children each night, 73% of whom were accommodated with their families in hotels.

The lack of suitable emergency accommodation has resulted in the council exploring modular prefabricated housing as a solution in the capital.

A council spokesperson said: “A site has been identified in Dublin 3 as suitable for the purpose of a demonstrating a modular housing project. The City Council has been in contact with a number of modular housing providers who have expressed an interest in participating in the demonstration project.

“The anticipated timeframe for the delivery of this project is mid-September.”

Mr Gavin described the proposed modular housing as a “short-term solution”. He also criticised the council’s decision to evict and bring legal proceedings against members of the Irish Housing Network which had started to refurbish the disused Bolt Hostel in Bolton St.

“For one thing we are very sceptical of just how ‘short term’ these solutions would turn out to be,” said Mr Gavin. “Even so, we need to remember that the Government housing strategy is largely based on the outsourcing and privatisation of social housing. The fact that they sought a legal injunction just to prevent us from making repairs to the building is typical of the absurdity of their response.

“We are very disappointed that Dublin City Council forced us to close the Bolt, when there are over 1,000 children and their families homeless.”

Danielle Dyer, a homeless mother of three, said she was “terrified”of being placed on such a site. “I can’t imagine putting so many people together in one area,” she said.

“Whenever I have to go to homeless centres in town I feel so afraid. Lots of people have mental health problems or are on drugs.

“I’m desperate but I don’t want my children surrounded by that 24 hours a day. They’re not used to it and I try to do my best to protect them for seeing that sort of thing.”

According to the council the prefabricated modular housing would be available on a temporary basis.

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