New ‘Hub’ to help house up to 40 homeless families
By Mary Dennehy
SUPPORTED accommodation with enhanced facilities is being provided for homeless families in Tallaght, with a building, which can house up to 40 families, currently undergoing refurbishment work.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has leased the Abberley Court Hotel for the project, which is being led and also financially supported by South Dublin County Council.
Branded “family hubs”, similar facilities have been developed across the city, with the Tallaght-based hub due to be complete next month.
Hugh Hogan, Director of Housing with South Dublin County Council told The Echo that the hotel, which is being run as a completely separate operation to the Abberley lounge and bar, is being renovated into a more “homely” space with communal laundry, kitchen, play, homework and TV facilities.
Families, who will be based in the hub on a temporary basis and charged €40 per week, will also be provided with breakfast and dinner, with rotational menus on offer with three or four choices.
Wrap-around services will also be provided, with Focus Ireland and key workers also linking into the Tallaght facility, and dedicated staff who will work with families in securing long-term accomodation.
As with a number of hotels across South Dublin County, the Abberley Court has been home to a number of homeless families in recent times, with the current refurbishment by the council enhancing facilities in line with the new family hub model launched by Minister Simon Coveney earlier this year.
Mr Hogan told The Echo: “We are currently working on finishing family accommodation with enhanced facilities.
“There are currently families living in the building and we are working around them and hoping to be finished next month.
“We are aware that this is no substitute for apartments, but the development once finished will be far superior than having families living out of a hotel room with no facilities.
“The facility once finished will be all emcompassing and have a homely atmosphere with food and support.”
Mr Hogan stressed that the design of the hub will also ensure that families do not have to leave their accommodation during the day as they can play or relax in one of the spacious communal areas rather than being confined to a hotel room.
“This is not permanent accommodation for anybody”, Mr Hogan said.
“However, we do have a housing supply problem in both our social and private-rented accommodation and this new model will offer a far more enhanced form of accommodation for families until they find a more permanent home.”
All families housed in the supported facility will remain on the council’s housing list and can avail of housing schemes such as HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] and Choice Based Letting.
A report released this week by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) has however, warned that there is a risk that families will be “institutionalised” in hub accommodation, which could “normalise” family homelessness in Ireland.
The rights commission has recommended that every family must have access to suitable permanent accommotion to avoid them being based in a hub for two or three years.