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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 18 November, 2019
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Major homeless hostel in Dublin city centre is set to close down

The hostel currently provides beds for around 100 people.

Image: Leon Farrell via RollingNews.ie

THE DUBLIN REGION Homeless Executive (DRHE) has confirmed that a 100-bed homeless hostel is set to close. 

Brú Aimsir on Dublin’s Thomas Street was opened in October 2015 as part of Dublin City Council’s annual Cold Weather Homeless Initiative, where extra beds are provided for people sleeping rough during the winter months. 

The hostel currently provides beds for around 100 people.

It was initially due to close at the end of March 2016, but its closure was deferred as a result of the increasing numbers of rough sleepers in the Dublin region. 

DRHE has now confirmed that a contract between itself and the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA), who owns the property, is “coming to an end”. 

“DRHE never intended for the Brú Aimsir to be a permanent emergency accommodation facility. We were always clear on our commitment to move out once we had sufficient alternative emergency accommodation available,” DRHE said. 

The latest rough sleeper count for Dublin found a total of 128 people sleeping rough on the night of 9 and early morning of 10 April. This marked a decrease of 28 from the winter rough sleeper count in November.

However, it marked a rise of 18 on the spring count last year, which is more directly comparable. 

Of the people found to be rough sleeping in Dublin, 75% were male and 25% were female. Just under 80% were Irish nationals, while 21% were non-Irish nationals, excluding a total of 29 people whose nationality was not identified. 

Alternative arrangements have been put in place for the 105 service users currently accommodated in Brú Aimsir, according to DRHE.

It said it is currently in the process of adding 160 emergency accommodation beds in the city “over the next few weeks”, 120 of which are ready now. These beds will “fully cater for all existing Brú Aimsir residents as well as putting 60 additional places into the system”.

95 of the additional beds will operate on a 24-hour basis and all the new emergency accommodation is within the city. 

“We are working very closely with [charity] Depaul to ensure there is a smooth transition for all residents, when they leave on the appointed morning they will be guaranteed a replacement bed that same day,” DRHE said. 

Protests

DRHE noted that it has been “very conscious” of the high concentration of emergency accommodation facilities in the Dublin 8 area.

“[DRHE] has always been committed to move out of Brú Aimsir at the earlier possible time. Our previous efforts in trying to establish another hostel in adjacent Carmens Hall two years ago was met with major opposition from the community and public representatives,” it said. 

As noted above, the hostel was initially due to close at the end of March 2016.

The news of the proposed closure was met with significant backlash as charities and activists called for the facility to be kept open. 

In May 2016, a group of 16 people – former long-term residents of the Brú Aimsir, supported by protesters from the Irish Housing Network group – staged a protest at the hostel overnight. 

It was then announced in June 2016 that the hostel was to remain open. 

While DRHE has issued a statement on the Brú Aimsir closure, it has not confirmed an exact date of when it will close its doors for the last time.

“The DRHE work tirelessly on a daily basis to source and manage emergency capacity in the Dublin area and will continue to do so in what is an extremely challenging situation,” DRHE said in its statement.

With reporting by Daragh Brophy and Cormac Fitzgerald

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