Seven families in hub homeless for two years

By Mary Dennehy

FIGURES released by South Dublin County Council reveal that seven families living in a Tallaght-based family hub have been homeless for more than two years.

The figures relate to the High Street Family Hub (formerly the Abberley Court Homeless Hub), which is currently home to 45 families.

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The High Street Family Hub

 At this month's Tallaght area committee meeting, Councillor Kieran Mahon (Solidarity) asked council management for a breakdown of the number of people and families currently using the facility– and their length of time in homelessness.

The Tallaght Central councillor also asked for a detailed breakdown of wrap-around services for those living in the family hub, the number of support workers, and engagement levels with service users.

In its reply, council management confirmed that upgrade works on the High Street Family Hub are complete, with nine additional large family rooms now in use.

According to the council, 45 families are currently staying in the High Street Family Hub, seven of whom are homeless for more than two years.

Some 15 families staying at the hub have been homeless for between one and two years, 14 families are homeless between six months and one year while nine families are homeless for less than six months.

“The time spent in the hub varies as some move on quickly to private rented accommodation, others are not successful finding rented properties and remain there longer,” the council said.

In relation to wrap-around services, the council said: “Staff are on site from Focus Ireland and provide support for families.

“Each family is invited to meet with the staff on a regular basis to progress their move from homeless services into longer-term accommodation.

“Contact is ongoing with families to encourage them to engage with the support service provided.

“Rooms are available for the local services to meet with clients and where issues arise, referrals are made where appropriate to the alternative services.”

Speaking to The Echo, Cllr Mahon said that the information provided by the council on wrap-around services was “unsatisfactory”.

Cllr Mahon stressed that from talking with people going through homelessness that wrap-around services are “lacking” in relation to mental health and child-development supports – with a new Government approach to supporting families needed.

He also stressed how family hubs, introduced as ‘temporary’ accom-modation, are becoming a permanent part of the country’s housing structure.

“An urgent approach is needed to house families”, Cllr Mahon said.

“The main point here is that we need to invest in public housing – homeless hubs and emergency accommodation are becoming a fixture of the housing structure.”

Cllr Mahon also raised issues around a lack of housing for larger families, many of whom are being left in homeless hubs on a long-term basis.

According to the council: “Large families, as with all others in emergency accommodation, have access to the HAP scheme at the higher rate, however it can be more difficult for these [large families] to source properties.”

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