Would you like homeless people to be moved into your neighbourhood?

Two redbrick Victorian homes in the idyllic, highly sought after and expensive area of Clontarf in Dublin, have been bought by the Housing Agency for a staggering €2 million. The purchase is to house some 13 homeless families.

While the intentions maybe admirable, the residents association of Clontarf have raised concerns about this move and the influx of a homeless population onto their doorstep.

The properties which are side-by-side on St Lawrence Road were purchased by the executive to “provide accommodation for 13 families who are currently homeless and in commercial hotels”.

The properties, which were sold for €194,000 above the original asking price of €1.8million, had together been used as a B&B.

Tony McNally of the local residents’ association and his wife Mary said they were “sincerely sympathetic” to the homelessness crisis in Ireland. However they highlighted that the money spent on the property could have been used better to provide long term accommodation for families.

Tony said – “The problem the community has here is the way in which Dublin City Council has imposed this on us. Nobody on the road knew anything about this project until we did our own investigation. A neighbour across the road became concerned when he heard noises in the vacant property and called gardaí. The [Housing Agency] have paid almost €2 million for a property that could have bought eight or nine apartments in the same area,”

Residents have also said that there will not be enough space, with one kitchen for families to cook in, it’s really a tenement. Residents reiterated that they are not unsympathetic to the homeless crisis but these units are not the best solution.

The homeless agency told the residents at a meeting that a number of house rules were implemented for the new homeless residents and these included daily collections of unsafely disposed-of injecting equipment in the locality and that the new residents are “discouraged” from begging, “tapping” or requesting money from other people.

Fr Peter McVerry, a leading voice for the homeless, said that the purchase was “welcome news” for the families escaping hotel-type accommodation.

Would like to see a mass influx of homeless people onto your road? This is what these residents now have to face. Clontarf is a VERY expensive area and many people have taken out huge mortgages to afford to live in this coastal haven. Why should homeless people be given one of the most desirable addresses in Dublin. We’d all love to live in Clontarf but we cannot afford to. So you can imagine how the local residents are up in arms over this decision thrown upon them.

However we’re always being told by the upwardly mobile  that homelessness is a problem that ALL OF US have to be help solve. But look what happens when a solution is found? The “well-to-do” actually “Well – DONT” want to help when it comes to having homeless people integrated into their neighbourhoods. Other areas do it around Ireland so what makes Clontarf any different.

So tonight I want to ask you – Are the residents of Clontarf just being snobs by not wanting to have this homeless community in their neighbourhood.

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