Belfast Telegraph

New beds and temporary family hubs aim to reduce homeless numbers

The Department of Housing has announced 70 new emergency beds and two temporary family hubs.

The housing minister has unveiled 70 new emergency beds and two temporary family hubs in a bid to tackle the number of homeless.

Eoghan Murphy said that the homeless hubs will be rolled out in Galway and Louth in a sign that the homeless crisis has spread outside of Dublin.

The Department of Housing announced the measures after Minister Murphy held the third housing summit with Local Authority chiefs on Tuesday.

The temporary prefabricated units are in clusters and will be operated as a homeless hub.

There are also plans in place for 1,000 fast track apartments across several sites in Dublin for social housing while a separate 1,000 units being held by banks and financial institutions are being targeted for acquisition.

There are people who are trapped in emergency accommodation because they don’t know what their rights are Eoghan Murphy

Speaking outside The Custom House in Dublin on Tuesday, Mr Murphy said: “What we are seeing is a challenge around homelessness and preventing people from falling into homelessness outside of Dublin.

“The number of families in emergency accommodation fell last month in Dublin but there are issues developing in other parts of the country.

“A new solution being proposed by McVerry Trust is a new type of family hub programme that can be rolled out on a pilot basis that will help us deliver more family hub spaces to help us get more families out of hotels.

“People in a family hub are spending far less time in emergency accommodation as a result of getting much better support into secure tenancy.

“Unfortunately there are people who are trapped in emergency accommodation because they don’t know what their rights are.

“I think a home will always be superior to a hub or hotel and that’s where we want families to be, in homes.”

A recent report found that families were staying on in emergency accommodation in order to secure permanent social housing.

The housing minister said that the department will continue to face challenges from people presenting themselves at emergency accommodation service until the supply of new homes is “dramatically increased”.

“It will be a period of time before we have the stock of homes we need,” he added.

The new measures also include a new national Housing Assistance Payment Scheme campaign that will be launched to address concerns identified in recent reports.

It emerged in May that almost 10,000 people across Ireland were homeless.

That included 3,755 children, according to figures from the Department of Housing.

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