St Vincent de Paul creates 'hidden homeless' estate agency in Dublin city

This initiative is to draw attention to concern at the homeless crisis

St Vincent de Paul creates 'hidden homeless' estate agency in Dublin city

Source: SVP

The St Vincent de Paul (SVP) charity is drawing attention to concerns at the housing and homeless crisis by transforming its Dublin shop front.

For two days the window of the SVP shop on South Great Georges Street is being transformed into a unique 'hidden homeless' estate agency window.

This initiative is to draw attention to the SVP's concern at the homeless crisis - and the lack of social housing in Ireland.

SVP wants to see real progress on the targets for 2016 set out in ‘Rebuilding Ireland’, the Government's Action Plan for Housing.

The charity says the 'hidden homeless' are people and families in hotels and B&Bs - made homeless by hikes in private rented sector rents - and also people making do with cold, damp and poor quality rental units or 'sofa surfing' in the homes of friends or extended family.

"These families and people are a key concern for SVP as its members visit them, every week of the year, across Ireland but particularly in and around Dublin, Cork and other cities", the charity says.

"SVP directly assists in preventing homelessness, in an informal way, for low income families in private rented housing who face significant rent increases".

John-Mark McCafferty, SVP head of social justice and policy, adds: "SVP volunteers assist with practical support including financial assistance and referral to relevant agencies. SVP also provides social housing and emergency accommodation and is therefore at the heart of the housing and homelessness issue."

This Monday and Tuesday, visitors to the shop and passers-by will see a very different type of estate agency window - with properties advertised in terms of what many low income families face.

Shop visitors and members of the general public will also be asked by younger SVP members from university branches to sign a petition to join the call for Government to ensure that enough social housing is built or bought to meet current and future need.

Among the properties advertised are:

Hotel rooms with the opportunity for children to mix with a variety of people from stag parties and business conferences:

Source: SVP

Compact flats with kitchenette with open vent for constant air circulation and occasional hot water:

Source: SVP

A relative’s couch within a multi-use environment that can also be used for relaxing and entertaining guests:

Source: SVP

SVP says there are 90,000 households waiting for social housing across Ireland and over 2,000 children living in homeless accommodation in Dublin.