Plans for a 155 bed rough sleeper accommodation cancelled with less than a month to Christmas

Sonja Tutty

Plans for the State’s largest emergency accommodation for single men were shut down due to heavy criticism from local residents and businesses, announced the Peter McVerry Trust.

The original plan of 155 beds for single men on Aungier street have been changed and will now be a family hub and accommodate 30 family suites, follow a meeting and protest where the public expressed concern.

However, Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn said he was not satisfied with the compromise and planned a protest outside Avalon house on November 29.

“This is the same thing. The area cannot afford to take another homeless facility. It is saturated,” Flynn told The Irish Times. “The community are not going to accept this and the protest will go ahead.”

The Peter McVerry Trust said in a statement that, “Our planned new hostel at Avalon House was a sincere effort on our part to reduce street homelessness in the city.”

“However, given the concerns raised about the concentration of hostel beds in this area of the city and following consultation with the DRHE, we now propose to reconfigure Avalon House into 30 suite family hub to support families out of B&Bs and hotels and assist them into housing.”

Together, the Peter McVerry Trust and Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) signed the lease for property above a Starbucks café on Aungier Street intending to open the accommodation in January.

DRHE director Eileen Gleeson explained that the single mens’ accommodation was necessary as there are three times more single people entering emergency accommodation than the DRHE can permanently house.

Soon after the announcement of the emergency accommodation, surrounding businesses stated they would seek a High Court injunction. The public and business owners said they feared  anti-social behaviour as there are already several homeless residents in the area and they were worried about the proximity to nearby primary schools and the area’s student population.

A proposal at the public meeting to turn the property into family accommodation was originally rejected, and the meeting ended as the public marched to Avalon house in protest.

In a letter to The Irish Times, co-founder of TRUST homeless services, Alice Leahy said smaller units of accommodation are more beneficial and that emphasis should be placed on quality over quantity.

Leahy added that, “A little bit of common sense would indeed be helpful to ensure we avoid the blame game that we have now become so familiar with.”

 

Sonja Tutty

Image Credit: Ruairi Carberry