HOMELESSNESS ACTIVIST GROUP Home Sweet Home has claimed that some former residents of Apollo House have returned to the office block because of drug use and a lack of food at new accommodation offered to them.
The claim has thrown further doubt on whether the group and its residents will vacate the premises before the deadline of noon tomorrow set by the High Court.
Home Sweet Home has said that it will not be leaving the premises it is currently occupying until alternative homeless accommodation comparable to that in Apollo House is made available.
In a statement this evening, the group has said that eight residents who had left Apollo House have returned over the last 24 hours because the new accommodation they were offered by Dublin City Council was “completely unsuitable”.
“Drugs and alcohol were being used in the facilities offered, which represents a clear failure to meet the specific needs of those residents, and constitutes a failure to meet the terms of the agreement,” the group says.
Home Sweet Home further claims that they have been told by one former resident of Apollo House that people were threatening violence and were “injecting and smoking heroin” in the new accommodation the moved to.
Yesterday, Home Sweet Home announced that they’d made a deal with the government through Environment Minister Simon Coveney and DCC over the provision of two new homeless facilities in the capital.
The group claimed that this announcement came about “as a direct result of the Home Sweet Home” but speaking to Newstalk today, Coveney said that the two new facilities were agreed upon before that.
“Brendan Kenny is the person in Dublin City Council responsible for the accommodation needs of homeless people in Dublin,” Coveney told The Pat Kenny Show.
“He specifically asked me whether I would support Dublin City Council in providing two new hostels, well in advance of that meeting actually. And I said yes to that, so I confirmed that at the Home Sweet Home meeting.”
Reacting to Coveney’s statements, Home Sweet Home has said that the minister is “undermining” the deal that was struck.
“The government cannot accept the precedent that has been set by direct action,” according to Home Sweet Home’s Tommy Gavin.
They are claiming that all these changes that have been enforced already existed, contrary to DCC and Peter McVerry Trust claiming otherwise.
Gavin has also repeated Home Sweet Home’s requirement that all Apollo House residents must be housed in comparable accommodation for them to end their occupation.
He cited the return of eight former residents as a reason to fear that this is not happening:
The long and short-term needs of the resident’s as of this evening have not been met, and only when they have been met will the residents and Home Sweet Home be leaving Apollo House.
Gavin has also confirmed that Home Sweet Home are holding a protest outside Apollo House at 11am tomorrow to “defend the gains of this campaign and the basic right to a home”.
The group is calling on its supporters to attend the protest.