Monday 17 June 2019

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Hundreds of social houses on the cards

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 5:07pm

Hundreds of social houses are in the pipeline in Cork city and councillors will be asked to give them the green light over the next few months.

This came to light at a Cork City Council meeting on Monday with the head of housing Brian Geaney confirming it.

He said: “There is substantial progress being made. We will be coming to councillors at the Local Electorate Area meetings in terms of a number of housing projects that will deliver hundreds of units in the city. These will be going for Part 8 Planning soon.”

Meanwhile, the new homeless person’s unit that will replace the offices on Drinan Street is to open in late August, a report from City Hall has confirmed.

Cork City Council took over the running of the premises on Drinan Street at the end of January from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection after concerns about the condition of the place and other issues.

The report said: “This service, now named the Accommodation Placement Service (APS), is operating initially from City Hall with staff temporarily reassigned to it from the homeless services section. The hours of opening have been doubled and the services provided have been improved and streamlined.”

A more suitable city centre premises for this service has been found and works are currently underway to fit it out to a high standard, with a completion date of late August, and staff recruitment is also near completion for the APS.

Homelessness was also kept in the spotlight at Monday’s City Council meeting with Fianna Fáil Cllr Fergal Dennehy speaking about the death of a man over the weekend who was sleeping on the streets.

He also spoke about the different services that are needed across the city from different sectors to combat the problem.

He said there are 18 year girls in homeless shelters with 70 year old men and this needed to change, while he also said that many don’t like homeless shelters for various reasons, including drug taking.

He said: “Many enter into homelessness without an addiction and end up with one and we need look at this too.”

Cllr Thomas Gould (Sinn Féin) and Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan agreed that additional services were needed while both adding that many families are finding it hard to find accommodation during the summer as the hotels and guesthouses they are in need the rooms for tourists, especially when big events and concerts are on. Both said that more needs to be done to stop the reliance on hotel and guesthouse bedrooms.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Tony Fitzgerald said: “We can shout and roar about it or we can be proactive about it. We have to work with officials and lobby the Government. 85 per cent of my work is on housing.”

Mr Geaney said that family homelessness is a challenge because of the amount of notices to quit in the private sector but progress is being made.

Cuan Mhuire

A former B&B that was converted into a step-down facility, after more than a decade of the building lying idle in Cork city, will be officially opened tomorrow.

The doors of Cuan Mhuire’s property on Western Road will be officially opened on Friday which provides treatment for homeless men who have undergone detox and rehabilitation for their addictions.

It follows years of to-ing and fro-ing between Cuan Mhuire and several agencies to get the 16-bedroom facility up and running.

Cuan Mhuire purchased Abbeypoint House in late 2007 and says it will cost €300,000 to run the project every year. It will provide food, counselling, aftercare, relapse prevention and help with getting residents back to work.

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