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Salvation Army homeless hostel for minors in Dublin city centre to shut down next year

Lefroy House is based on Eden Quay in Dublin City Centre and is run by the Salvation Army.

Image: Shutterstock/Roman Bodnarchuk

A CHILDREN-ONLY HOSTEL for teenagers who are homeless is set to close in the new year. 

Lefroy House is based on Eden Quay in Dublin city centre and is run by the Salvation Army. It is an emergency night service which provides shelter to young people. 

The centre’s capacity is for seven young people, male and female, aged between 12 and 18 who are homeless, out of placement or unable to return to family. 

Children can stay at the facility overnight but have to leave in the morning and return at 5pm if they need shelter on subsequent nights. 

While Lefroy House caters for seven children at any given time, around 100 minors have used the facility in recent years. 

The Salvation House has confirmed that it has informed staff in Lefroy House in recent days that the facility will close next year. 

“Our aim is to enable the small number of young people who use this facility to be accommodated safely and securely in other support services and we will work with Tusla on transition arrangements,” Malcolm Page, assistant director of homelessness services for The Salvation Army, said. 

“The centre will continue to operate for the coming months to make this as smooth as possible,” Page said. 

“While we are sad to close Lefroy House, it allows us to refocus our resources into essential services for adults and families. The long-term economic impact of the pandemic is already being felt, which makes our vital work with vulnerable adults and families even more urgent,” he said.

Last year, TheJournal.ie reported that gardaí were called to Lefroy House at least 17 times in a four-month period in 2018. The calls were made for various reasons, including minors acting in an intimidatory or violent manner. 

Separately to those 17 incidents, documents seen by TheJournal.ie at the time showed how an allegation of sexual abuse was made by a service user at the centre. It is understood the allegation was made by one child about another. 

The Salvation Army has been providing homelessness services in Ireland for more than 100 years. It operates six major residential centres in Dublin, helping over 200 adults who are homeless. 

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It also offers emergency accommodation services for around 80 families with young children. 

In a statement, Tusla the Child and Family Agency said:

“Tusla can confirm that Salvation Army has notified its intention to cease its operation of emergency 24 hours ‘Nightlight’ service at Lefroy House in early 2021. This is a vital emergency service for children and young people, and we would like to reassure the public that plans are already in place to ensure continuity of the provision of emergency services in 2021. Tusla is currently in discussions with the Salvation Army and new service providers.

“Separately, in 2019, in discussions with the Salvation Army, Tusla indicated its plans to focus on prioritising the emergency out of hours ‘Nightlight’ service to ensure that it could continue to run 24 hours on a long term basis, and cease funding to the Aftercare Supports Flats. The Aftercare Supports Flats have traditionally catered to a small number of young adults who have been transitioning out of care into independent living and who receive Tusla aftercare services. Tusla aftercare teams will continue to work with young people to ensure that they continue to have the appropriate supports going forward, and access to other housing supports such as CAS housing, student accommodation or others where needed.”

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