Tourism may leave 600 families homeless

More than 600 other families may end up homeless as the demand for hotel beds from the tourism sector continues to grow.

Yesterday it was revealed that 14 homeless families, who have been living in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel will be forced to move elsewhere as the hotel is no longer accepting homeless people.

Deputy CEO of Dublin City Council (DCC) Brendan Kenny said they had officially been informed last November that the hotel would not be renewing its contract to provide emergency accommodation.

The Gresham Hotel had a financial contract with DCC to provide emergency accommodation.

Mr Kenny stated that some of the families would now go to hubs and others were now eligible for permanent social housing.

However, Sinead Hughes, who has been living in the hotel for the last 18 months with her eight-year-old son, said DCC had still not informed her about alternative accommodation.

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) CEO Anthony Flynn, said his charity has been assisting families left in the lurch when the hotels they are staying in need their beds on busy weekends.

“The bubble is going to burst. There are going to be more families in this situations. There are already over 600 families in hotels nationwide and there are more tourists coming in so those beds are going to be needed,” Mr Flynn told the Irish Examiner last night.

He said there was a child as young as one-and-a-half living in the Gresham Hotel.

He explained that families learned about the change of contract from the hotel and not DCC.

While Mr Kenny, who has responsibility within DCC for housing, said it was a “positive thing” that fewer families will be in hotels, Mr Flynn rejected this “narrative”.

“There is a narrative that this is a positive thing that people are being taken out of hotels, but they’re not being taken out of hotels, they are being forced out of them,” Mr Flynn said.

Mr Kenny said: “We want fewer families in hotels. We have alternatives now, like hubs.”

However, Mr Flynn also challenged this assertion saying it was “unrealistic” as there is currently a shortage of housing and the DCC was waiting on a hub, on O’Connell St, Lynams, to be ready.

In 2014, at the first homeless summit, a Nama-managed hotel was tabled as a solution to get families out of homelessness.

Yesterday, Labour spokesman for urban regeneration, Joe Costello, once again called on Nama to step in to help solve the crisis.

“There is now a public body that has the capacity to make an immediate and substantial difference in the crisis. The Government must accept that its existing policy of relying on the private sector to solve the crisis has failed as the homeless and housing lists continue to increase.

“Nama has completed its legislative remit. It has demonstrated flair and capacity in the construction industry. It is well resourced. Now is the time to redirect and reconfigure the agency into a new role as the State’s national housing body,” he said.

Editorial: 14


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