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Dublin: 3°C Monday 12 April 2021

Hotel was paid up to €5m to accommodate homeless people last year

New figures show that another hotel received between €2 million and €3 million.

A rough sleeper in Dublin city centre
A rough sleeper in Dublin city centre
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

ONE DUBLIN HOTEL was paid between €4 million and €5 million to accommodate homeless people in 2017.

New figures, released in response to a Freedom of Information request, show that another hotel received between €2 million and €3 million.

The figures, released by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE), show that a further 11 hotels received between €1 million and €2 million, with an additional 13 hotels receiving payments between €500,000 and €1 million.

A further 124 hotels and B&Bs received payments of up to €500,000 in 2017.

Last year, the overall amount paid out to hotels by Dublin City Council (DCC) totalled €46.93 million – a 20.5% jump on the €38.94 million paid out in 2016.

In addition, DCC paid €12.3 million to hostels and B&Bs.

Increase in number of homeless in hotels 

The figures also show that last year, despite a commitment by Tánaiste Simon Coveney in his then role as Minister for Housing that the use of hotels for housing homeless people would finish by the end of July, the number of hotels accommodating the homeless increased in 2017.

Last December, 70 hotels around the capital were being used to house homeless people – an increase on the 66 hotels housing homeless people in January 2017.

The number of homeless families living in emergency accommodation in Dublin increased from 1,028 at the end of 2016 to 1,121 at the end of last year, including the number of children increasing from 2,096 to 2,385.

The latest figures for February show that the number of homeless families in emergency accommodation in the capital increased to 1,329, including 2,801 children.

The figures also show that DCC spent €8.75 million on family hubs in 2017.

Family hubs 

Family hubs are group-style homeless shelters for families and have been rolled out over the past 16 months as a measure to reduce the number of families staying in hotels for long periods.

In an RTÉ radio interview this week, the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said: “Hotels are not an appropriate place for families to be in emergency accommodation.”

Murphy said that is why the government has rolled out the family hub programme. He said: “We have far many more hub places coming to get families out of hotels. More than 2,000 families were taken out of hotels last year, which is a huge amount of work done.”

He said that the majority of those families are now in homes.

In total, DCC spent €97.48 million on emergency accommodation last year, including a large percentage going to non-profit organisations such as the Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Simon, Focus Ireland, Crosscare and the Depaul.

The DRHE spending return for 2017 also shows that the council spent €819,072 on a helpline for the homeless last year.

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On the hotel spend, independent councillor Mannix Flynn said: “The spend is outrageous, but it is not surprising. Hotels can charge a premium rate as there is a very large demand for hotel rooms in Dublin.

“The notion of housing people in a hotel just beggars belief and can have a catastrophic psychological impact on those families and the children concerned.

“These people have had their lives suspended, living in these artificial situations that has a massive impact on them. Homelessness is on the landscape to stay.”

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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