Hotel paid near €5m to put up homeless

One Dublin hotel was last year paid €4m to €5m to accommodate the spiralling numbers of homeless in the capital.

Freedom of Information figures showed another hotel received payments of €2m to €3m.

The figures released by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive further indicated 11 hotels received €1m to €2m with an additional 13 receiving €500,000 to €1m.

Last year, the overall amount paid out to hotels by Dublin City Council totalled €46.93m, a 20.5% jump on the 2016 figure of €38.94m.

A total of 124 hotels and B&Bs also received payments of up to €500,000 in 2017. And the city council also paid a further €12.3m to hostels and B&Bs.

The figures confirm, in spite of a commitment by Tánaiste Simon Coveney in a former role as housing minister that the use of hotels for housing the homeless would finish by the end of July last year, the number of hotels accommodating the homeless actually increased in 2017.

By last December, 70 hotels around the capital were being used to house the homeless and that was an increase of four on the 66 hotels housing the homeless in at the start of 2016.

The numbers of homeless families living in emergency accommodation in Dublin increased from 1,028 at the end of 2016 to 1,121 at the end of last year, with the number of children increasing from 2,096 to 2,385.

Figures for February 2018 show the number of homeless families in emergency accommodation in the capital increased to 1,329 which included 2,801 children.

Details reveal as part of the Government initiative to establish family hubs, the City Council spent €8.75m on hubs in 2017. Hubs are group- style homeless shelters for families and have been introduced over the past 16 months as a measure to reduce the numbers staying for long periods in hotels.

Reacting to the hotel spend, Dublin City councillor Mannix Flynn said: “The spend is outrageous, but it is not surprising.

“Hotels can charge a premium rate as there is a very large demand for hotel rooms in Dublin.

“The notion of housing people in a hotel just beggars belief and can have a catastrophic psychological impact on those families and the children concerned.

“These people have had their lives suspended living in these artificial situations that have a massive impact on them. Homelessness is on the landscape to stay.”

A detailed breakdown of the hub spend shows €1.5m was paid over in 2017 to Focus Onsite Support for the largest family hub at the Townhouse on Dublin’s Gardiner Street.

Focus Onsite Support received fees of €4.92m for the operation of five family hubs at Bram Stoker in Clontarf; Sunnybank; Viking Lodge D8, Abberly in Tallaght and the Townhouse.

The council last year spent €97.48m on emergency accommodation that includes a large percentage going to non-profit organisations such as the Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland, Crosscare, and the De Paul Trust.


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