Apollo House activists say they have received "overwhelming" support from the public

The group behind the occupation say they have received 800 volunteer applications in the past few days

Apollo House activists say they have received "overwhelming" support from the public

Image: Caoimhseach Connolly

A group occupying a NAMA owned office block in Dublin city centre is appealing to anyone sleeping rough around the country to get in contact with them.

Apollo House on Tara Street in Dublin was taken over by a group of 'concerned citizens' on Thursday night.

The activists - backed by a number of high profile Irish artists and musicians - have renamed the property "Home Sweet Home" and are using it to provide shelter for homeless people.

Lawyers for NAMA have ordered the group to vacate the premises but Rosi Leonard from the Irish Housing Network (IHN) said the project has received huge support from the public.

She said the building is being transformed to provide a home for rough sleepers in the city with the number of people using the facilities increasing each night.

Around 20 people slept in the building last night.

“There are individual rooms and there are dozens of beds,” she said. “As you may have seen all over Facebook, Mattress Mick donated all these beds so we have loads and loads of beds; we have lots of sleeping bags and duvets.”

She said the public support for the project has been "absolutely overwhelming" - with over 800 volunteer applications sent in over the past few days.

“A woman from Galway got on a train from Galway just to come here drop off two bags of duvets, then got back on the train to Galway," she said.

“People are touched by it because they are fed up, so buildings like this are really providing a spark.”

The group is calling for anyone who wants to get involved in the project to get in contact with the group through the ‘Home Sweet Home’ Facebook page.

“We will be putting regular call-outs for specific things through the Facebook page so if people keep an eye on that, they will know if there are any specifics that are needed," she said.

The activists have said they are willing to meet with NAMA to discuss the situation and called for anyone sleeping rough in the city to get in contact.

Speaking in the Dáil on Friday afternoon, the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said he can understand the group's frustration but warned the occupation was "not the way to go."

Campaigner Fr Peter McVerry has applauded demonstrators, but stressed that the occupation was "not the solution" to homelessness crisis.

"I have no problem with them taking over the building. However, it's not the solution to the homeless crisis; that's my difficulty and that's why I won't join them," he said.