Last Friday I spoke off the air to a landlord who lets out short stay apartments, purchased and renovated last year for this purpose. He’s been housing three homeless families, funded by Community Welfare Officers at a rate of €100 per family per night, since they were all asked to leave hotel rooms over the October Bank Holiday weekend. One woman and her baby have found a place in a hostel.
The other two families were told last week by the Homeless Person’s Unit that they had to vacate his property and find a hotel or B&B that would take them. The only place they could find had vacancies for four nights this week at a total cost of €1050 per family. After that availability dries up due to Christmas. They will be out on the streets again. The heads of both these households are working but they cannot find anywhere in the city to live that falls under the HAP guidelines.
They have been told the only way they can remain in the apartments is if the landlord agrees to HAP or RAS, halving the rent they are currently paying. He has no incentive to agree to that – when they are gone, he can follow his original plan and get the rent he wants from multinationals bringing visiting staff to the city, or to tourists. So, instead, they are being forced into hotel or B&B accommodation at more than twice the price, with zero security from day to day.
When contacted both the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Housing said this was nothing to do with them.
Cork City Council’s response:
Cork City Council must ensure that emergency accommodation is properly regulated if it is to place tenants there.
These requirements ( eg insurance) are met by providers such as hotels and B&Bs but payment on a night by night basis for accommodation which is not a registered and approved B&B or hotel cannot provide such regulation and is also outside the Residential Tenancies Act. And may not comply with planning regulations.
Paying a nightly B&B rate to such landlords also circumvents Rent Pressure Zone legislation.
Cork City Council is happy to fund more long term leases for tenants at the same address or at other addresses (HAP/RAS or fixed monthly rates with greater security of tenure and RTA protection).
The Homeless Persons Unit will continue to provide support for registered Hotels, B&B’s and self catering apartments.
All well and good in theory. But enforcing a policy decision on this basis means the authorities are the ones making these families homeless. The landlord tells me even though their funding has been stopped, he won’t put them out on the streets before Christmas. How long can one man’s generosity last though?
This morning’s Irish Examiner reveals that the Department of Social Protection spent €250,000 housing just eight homeless families in hotel rooms so far this year.
We got this text today:
Hi pj I am homeless since February due to my landlord moving back into the property, I had no where to go I am married with 4 kids, my youngest child just 3 months, the cork city council just don’t care, I am attending drinan street and they gave me €1870 for one week in a hotel last Easter and I found a rented house for €1350 per month and I wasn’t entitled to that but was aloud €1870 a week for a hotel, which is quit a disgrace my kids are thrugh hell, they are so embarrassed getting up every morning walking out of a hotel, it’s going to be a very hard Christmas, I am entitled to hap and rent allowance but I have no luck of a landlord accepting kids.
Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?
You can listen back to today’s show here: