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Serious concerns over modular sites must be addressed - Ellis

29 October, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has said today that new detailed proposals for modular unit sites to tackle homelessness in Dublin have raised some real concerns and must be addressed.

The Dublin North-West TD said that the plans for units were too concentrated in too few areas which were predominately working class with high poverty levels and over stretched services already.

Deputy Ellis said:

“It is very sad that we are at this severe a stage of a homeless crisis but this is the reality that faces us. Measures must be presented for the short term, as well as the medium term. Modular Housing is not preferable to proper social housing, but the alternative is families sleeping in cars, tents, hostels or the floors of whatever shelter they can find. We must do all we can to stop any more homeless deaths also.

“If families are to be housed temporarily in modular units, then the planning and servicing of these units and the sites where they are placed is paramount. The homeless crisis had become too severe and too many families are suffering to allow the luxury of dismissing options for more emergency accommodation. However, that does not mean we can simply dump families anywhere and ignore the risk of ghettoising already hard pressed families and communities.

“We need to build homes, implement control rents, and increase rent supplement. Sinn Féin have been pushing for such measures to tackle the root causes of homelessness for years. Unfortunately, the government has consistently chosen not to listen. These policies take time and we need to provide shelter for those with none right now while we build the homes they need.

“I have very serious concerns that the site in Finglas is not suitable to provide as many units as planned and that we need assurances on the Poppintree site that co-op housing already planned will be guaranteed and funding put in place. Housing is the solution to homelessness after all.

“I also have concerns for communities like Cherry Orchard which has many serious social issues to deal with as well as having severely oversubscribed services and a lack of shops or other amenities. Units must be more spread out throughout the city instead of dumping large numbers of homeless families in on top of each other in areas already hard pressed to provide for the current population.

“Modular Units for emergency housing must be managed, planned, and serviced well to maintain community cohesion in the areas they are situated, to provide the best quality of shelter for the families placed in them and to ensure they are only used to deal with an emergency and do not medium or long term housing. This means those housed should not be charged for the unit; sites must not be overburdened and close to schools, transport links and other essential services. Families must also receive tailored support with a plan for rehousing and a statutory requirement for the state to act to provide housing within a short period of time.

“We all have to accept that tackling homelessness will not be an easy task with any quick fixes but that doesn't mean we have to accept badly planned ideas. The concerns being raised with me are real and genuine issues and that must be dealt with.  I will be raising them directly with the council and the Minister.” 

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