Apollo House occupiers to leave ‘once suitable accommodation is found’

Home Sweet Home said the residents are "unlikely" to leave by the court-ordered deadline of this Wednesday

Apollo House occupiers to leave ‘once suitable accommodation is found’

Apollo House in Dublin - the NAMA-owned office block due for demolition which has been taken ove by Home Sweet Home and other homeless action groups | Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated 19:50

The occupiers of Apollo House in Dublin say they will leave the building once suitable accommodation is available.

The group has agreed to stop taking in new residents - however it is unlikely the thirty residents currently in the building will have left by the court-ordered deadline of January 11th.

At a press conference this evening, Home Sweet Home spokesperson Brendan Ogle said he is "absolutely certain" the current residents will be moving to facilities appropriate to their needs.

“I am not that bothered when it happens to be honest with you they are quite comfortable where they are at the moment,” he said.

As part of a deal agreed between the occupiers and the government, at least two new homeless shelters will be set up in Dublin City Centre to address the homelessness crisis.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney said the provision of these new facilities will cost in excess of €4m.

They will include units suitable for single persons and couples, and will promote independent living.

“The home Sweet Home intervention highlighted the lack of facilities available for couples who are homeless,” said Mr Ogle.

“Dublin City Council will now be providing two new buildings for people who are homeless - which will replace the one building occupied by Home Sweet Home.”

Home Sweet Home will also have monthly meetings with Dublin City Council.

It is not known whether the two additional facilities for homeless people will be NAMA buildings.

Solicitors acting for Home Sweet Home have written to Finance Minister Michael Noonan and are awaiting a response.

It followed a meeting between Minister Coveney and Home Sweet Home representatives on January 6th.

At the meeting, the minister confirmed that a sufficient number of emergency beds are now in place to meet the needs of rough sleepers in Dublin.

Additional capacity, through the advancement of the two new facilities, will be put in place in the coming months following consultation.

It was also agreed that Dublin City Council would improve community-based homeless services and facilities through their local authority office network.

In the broader social housing discussion, the minister restated his commitment to end the use of commercial hotels as emergency accommodation for homeless families by mid-year.

The Government has committed €5.35bn to deliver an extra 47,000 social housing units by 2021.

Minister Coveney welcomed the resolution, and thanked everyone for their positive engagement.

Home Sweet Home said Mr Coveney has guaranteed that there will be no families in commercial accommodation - hotels or B&Bs -  by July 1st 2017.

In a statement, Home Sweet Home say: "The short, medium and long term needs, including care plans for all current Apollo House residents, will be met according to their needs.

“The rollout of community based homeless services has been agreed.”

Home Sweet Home has agreed not to accept new residents into Apollo House, and will facilitate the transition of existing residents to suitable accommodation “once Dublin City Council has provided them with the appropriate support services to meet their short and long-term needs”.