Homeless families refuse to leave emergency accommodation

The families have been evicted from the accommodation

Aisling and her husband and three children have been living in emergency accommodation on Mountjoy Street for 9 months.

Last Friday, they were due to be evicted but they refused to leave.

Reporter Kieran Cuddihy has been following this situation and he joined Newstalk Breakfast this morning to give them the latest update.

The families were told they were being evicted because their private landlord was increasing the rent, which Dublin City Council was unable to pay.

Because the families are living in emergency accommodation the are not protected under tenants' rights law.

They are refusing to leave until they are guaranteed alternative suitable and secure accommodation.

Last week, Newstalk spoke to Aisling Kenny, one of the residents being evicted.

What's happening now?

Their main issue was location. Dublin City Council offered them a unit in Harold’s Cross but their children are in school out in Coolock.

This offer was followed by another with two different hotel rooms which would involve the family splitting up.

The stand off has been ongoing since last Friday. On Tuesday, residents staged a sit in at DCC offices for a number of hours. After this, it was thought that some arrangement was imminent.

Kieran visited the accommodation twice yesterday. For the first time, Dublin City Council had just called one of the residents. He wasn’t privy to both sides of that call but it was her understanding that DCC were going to find them somewhere closer to Coolock on temporary basis and that they would also be able to avail of the HAP scheme (the newer version of rent allowance) and still stay on the Social Housing waiting list.

This information was going to be included in a letter and sent straight out to them. They were hopeful. That evening, our reporter returned after they got that letter. He met Aisling outside the building and asked her what was in it:

What did the letter contain?

The letter was essentially a statement of the facts, setting out the position that already existed. It says they must leave Mountjoy Street and they must go to the accommodation provided by DCC, which Aisling and others argue is totally unsuitable for the children.

It also states the families are eligible for the HAP scheme. With that scheme, a version of rent allowance, you’re kicked off the social housing waiting list. The families don’t want that. They want access to the scheme without being kicked off the waiting list. However, no such commitment was made in the letter.

They only received the letter hand delivered to each of them at 5:45 yesterday evening so there was very little they could do last night. The families are planning to meet our reporter again today to update him but it seems Aisling has no plans to leave the accommodation.

Are the families just on their own down there, waiting it out?

The families have support. Dublin City Council have appointed a case officer for them through Focus Ireland, that was also set out in the letter. Local shops and businesses have been helping them out with food too. Last night, pizza and chips were delivered down to them in a show of support.

The Irish Housing Network have also been assisting them. Rosie Leonard is a member of this network. She was there too last night and was making the point to me that unfortunately, Aisling’s case is something that they are getting very used to dealing with:

This was Aisling speaking to Newstalk last week:

Aisling Kenny - Humans of the Election

Aisling Kenny and her family are one of thirteen families being evicted from their emergency accommodation this Friday - polling day.

Posted by Newstalk 106-108 fm on Monday, 22 February 2016