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Home Sweet Home campaign wins significant improvements for people who are homeless
The Home Sweet Home campaign last week met with the Minister for Housing and some of his key officials. Home Sweet Home advised the Minister that the campaign will be taking a legal challenge arguing that the 1937 Constitution contains within it a right to housing.

Home Sweet Home further advised the Minister that they will be opening a permanent Dublin support, advice and activist centre assisting people with their housing information needs.

Home Sweet Home will be a permanent intervention in the nation’s housing policy and discussion.

The following is now agreed between Home Sweet Home and the Minister.

Ireland is currently gripped by a national housing emergency.

At least two new facilities addressing the homelessness emergency will be opened. In order to raise the bar on the agreed minimum standards these facilities will include residents having their “own key” to a place they can call home. This minimum standard will be achieved with the direct participation of residents and will provide those who are ready and want private “own key” accommodation with full support services. The Minister confirmed that the provision of these new facilities will cost in excess of €4 million and Dublin City Council advised us that this positive development only came about as a direct result of the Home Sweet Home campaign. As demanded by Home Sweet Home, these facilities will include units suitable for single persons and couples and will promote independent living.

Home Sweet Home will have regular monthly meetings with Dublin City Council and where necessary other local authorities to review and assess these, and all related, housing and homelessness policies.

Hidden homelessness will be identified and if necessary audited and presented to local authorities for inclusion in housing lists and policies.

The Minister has guaranteed that there will be no families in commercial accommodation (hotels or B&Bs) by 1st July 2017.

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.

From today (Monday January 9th), 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.”

The Minister did not confirm whether the two additional facilities for homeless people will be NAMA buildings. Solicitors acting for Home Sweet Home have written to the Minister for Finance on this matter and are awaiting a response.

The intervention of Home Sweet Home has created a greater awareness of the housing and homelessness emergency that has blighted our country for too long. This coalition of artists, trade unionists and activists/volunteers including the Irish Housing Network is committed to not only ensuring the full delivery of the above, but also the ultimate elimination of homelessness in Ireland.

Home Sweet Home has achieved an enormous amount in a very short period of time. This is down to the profound outpouring of public support for the campaign with more than 2,500 people volunteering their time and services along with donations of food, clothing, beds and more than €160,000 in funds. All campaign spending will be published and any excess money raised will go towards a campaign to end homelessness in Ireland. Furthermore:

No homeless person died on the streets of Dublin over the Christmas period despite temperatures dropping to 0 degrees or below on eight occasions. This was the first objective of Home Sweet Home.

Home Sweet Home facilitated the assessment of 72 individuals by homeless services with 42 people moving into six-month beds.

Home Sweet Home helped more than 200 people to access a secure bed through the homeless Freephone number.

Dublin City Council and the McVerry Trust have told Home Sweet Home that the extra beds in new hostels are now six-month beds with 24-hour access as a result of the campaign.

The Home Sweet Home intervention highlighted the lack of facilities available for couples who are homeless.

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.

Finally, Home Sweet Home does not believe that the government’s ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan is sufficient or ambitious enough to tackle the housing emergency. Accordingly the campaign will now pursue all of the remaining demands published in our emergency housing plan on Thursday, 5th January 2017.