Five families will be accommodated in a homeless hub which will be based in Ennis.
Clare County Council has recently acquired Cusack Lodge on the Lahinch Rd for the provision of homeless transition accommodation. An operator has been appointed for the location, a design team is in place and are in the process of completing tender documentation. It will go to tender for refurbishment before Christmas. Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting of the Social Development SPC, Council official Liam Brett said they expect to appoint a contractor early next year with works to commence in February and a four week refurbishment period is estimated.
He outlined that an office for their Homeless Action Team (HAT) would be put in place on the ground floor of Áras Contae an Chláir with the reconfiguration of the office to include the addition of desks and two meeting rooms. He said they “are very close to appointing a tender, works are expected to start in January and possibly earlier. It will be a five week construction period and we will try to reduce it”.
Cllr Ann Norton praised the two developments and highlighted the importance of kitchen facilities on site at the homeless hub. “It is important to be able to cook and clean, it gives the people dignity that when they move into hubs they can look after themselves, it is something that is needed in Ennis”. She felt having the HAT office within the same building would prevent confusion and hassle for individuals who would otherwise have to travel to another site.
Dermot Hayes referred to an email sent to all councillors by Mary O’Donoghue the LCDC Social Inclusion Representative which pointed out personnel being housed in B&Bs and hotels are unable to cook their dinners or wash their clothes. Trudy Leyden told the meeting that Obair in Newmarket-on-Fergus are in the process of acquiring new kitchens and may be the solution to giving meals to the homeless in hotels and B&Bs, “they are more than happy to offer their services”.
Independent TD, Dr. Michael Harty said the announcement hasn’t come a moment too soon. “I understand that due to the size of the facility it will be used to house small family units. The families will have unreserved access to communal kitchen, dining and living facilities consistent with other hub facilities in operation in the country. In a statement to The Clare Echo, Dr. Harty highlighted that a HUB is no substitute for permanent accommodation and should only be seen as a transitional and temporary solution. “We need more social accommodation. Until we get it, the tragedy of homelessness will continue to damage our community fabric. Our economy is doing well, we are told, but our society is still fractured and we have many problems to solve”.