*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
On Monday night (4th July), John’s Lane Hostel was shut down. 42 people were housed in this hostel, and they were told that they would be given a bed for one night if they left peacefully, but no other guarantees of suitable, more long-term accommodation.
This is despite DCC having had at least two months to arrange alternative accommodation. The hostel has been planning to close since late April, and when it opened in late 2014 it was made clear that this was a temporary facility. Provision was not made then, almost 2 years ago, for what would happen to those using the hostel when it closed, and it was not made this week either.
Some residents staged an occupation for several hours throughout the day, supported by activists from the Irish Housing Network. Ultimately, at 9.30 on Monday night the residents vacated the hostel under the supervision of a heavy Garda presence.
Cllr Michael O’Brien tried to bring an emergency motion to the Council on behalf of the residents. DCC officials stated that residents of John’s Lane had all been offered suitable accommodation elsewhere, and the emergency motion was thrown out. DCC maintained that the issue with residents of John’s Lane Hostel had been ‘resolved’, which was disingenuous and misleading, as Councillors believed all occupants had been offered alternative suitable accommodation.
The situation is far from ‘resolved’. Residents were offered one night’s accommodation, then were back on the freephone system the next day. DCC officials deliberately misled Councillors, and the misinformation that the residents were all housed has been spread to the press.
This also means that 40 more people are now relying on the freephone system, no new beds have been allocated to deal with this demand and everyone relying on the freephone will now suffer.
One former John’s Lane resident, Rosemary, was placed in a hostel with no bed – she slept on a floor. As she is visually impaired, she cannot access toilets without assistance in this hostel as they are up a flight of narrow winding stairs. Several others are now sleeping rough again as they couldn’t get a bed through the freephone. Inner City Helping Homeless reported that last night their outreach teams engaged with 14 people on Henry St alone, many of whom had no sleeping bags.
The closure of John’s Lane Hostel has only served to worsen the homeless crisis. No provisions were made for these people, despite there being ample time to do so, and Dublin City Council have misled their Councillors, misinformed the public and most importantly failed 42 vulnerable people.
The Irish Housing Network condemns the inhumane treatment of already vulnerable people and the failure of all services to resolve this issue to any acceptable level.
photo credit to Rosemary & Suitable Accommodation before closing John’s Lane West