Work to start on €1.5m homeless centre

A €1.5m centre for the homeless is to be provided in a Co Kerry town, with construction work expected to start in the next two months.

A building close to Killarney town centre is to be refurbished by Cluid, which provides affordable housing for people on waiting lists nationwide.

Cluid regional director Tim Porter said the aim was to have the building — which will have accommodation for 11 people — ready by early 2014.

The facility, which is to be operated and managed by the Novas Initiatives, will include two family units.

Members of Killarney Town Council, which spends €55,000 on emergency homeless services, and other people in the area have been calling for many years for a proper facility for the homeless.

The €55,000 covers the cost of hostels and B&B accommodation but Independent town councillor Donal Grady said upwards of five people were regularly “sleeping under the stars” in Killarney.

“We can’t ignore these people. They should have some place suitable in which to stay,” he said.

Meanwhile, the number of people seeking social housing in the town has topped 1,300.

With very few houses now being built and a slow uptake of the rental accommodation scheme, it means that hundreds of those of the waiting list have no realistic chance of getting a house for many years to come.

Killarney mayor Sean O’Grady criticised the Department of the Environment for forcing applicants to reapply for housing and said it should simply be a matter of the applicants telling the council they were still looking for housing.

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