Limerick to face ‘deeper challenges’ in housing with homeless shelter to close

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

The temporary emergency provision hostel at Edenvilla, Lord Edward Street is to close

The temporary emergency provision hostel at Edenvilla, Lord Edward Street is to close

IF A TEMPORARY accommodation hostel is closed prematurely in the coming months, Limerick city could be faced with “much deeper challenges” in housing homeless people, Novas has warned. 

Two prominent Fianna Fail politicians confirmed that the temporary emergency provision (Tep) hostel at Edenvilla, Lord Edward Street is to close “in the coming months”.

Tep was launched by Limerick City and County Council and Novas in December 2016, in response to the increasing demand for emergency shelter in the city.

The Edenvilla Tep service can accommodate 20 male and female clients, while a nearby Tep hostel at Sarsfield Place, opened in December 2017, can accommodate 10 male and female clients.

In 2017, the Tep service accommodated 292 clients through 6,800 referrals. So far this year, there have been more than 270 clients availing of Tep.

A council spokesperson said that the closure will not take place “until appropriate accommodation is available”.

This Monday, the council’s housing support service staff met with local representatives and residents in the area “who are concerned about the management of Tep”, the council said.

Willie O’Dea TD and Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr James Collins were in attendance.

Both politicians confirmed on their social media accounts that the Edenvilla service will be closed in “the coming months” following the meeting. Both general election candidates stated that Novas, which operates the Tep services, will offer “alternative accommodation” in the city to its clients who are availing of the hostel.

However, the council has said that a €540,000 30-unit Housing First programme “will support these people currently using the facility at night time”.

But the tender process for this three-year project has yet to be concluded.

The 9pm-9am facility currently has 14 clients availing of the Edenvilla hostel.

A spokesperson for Novas said the council is “acutely aware” of capacity issues at its short-term accommodation (STA) centres across the city. “The forecast is that the housing crisis hasn’t peaked yet, so that is a challenge.

“Of course, we have existing STA services in the city and they can accommodate some overflow, but that will be a very temporary arrangement.

“That is my concern that Tep, while we all recognise that it is a temporary measure, if we close it prematurely, we may be faced with other, much deeper challenges in housing people,” the spokesperson said.  

She added that Novas believes the council is “absolutely putting the best interests of the clients at heart”.

Deputy O’Dea said that residents were “seriously miffed” about the conduct of some clients.

“There is no facility for them to stay inside. They’re rambling around the streets. They are there, congregating together.

“They are seriously annoying people, and sometimes threatening people. It’s just not on,” he said.

The TD said he thought it was “inappropriate that they should have been placed there in the first place”, adding that he will be in contact with the council on a weekly basis.

Mayor Collins did not comment at the time of going to print.

Novas said that the purpose behind Tep was that it was “always a temporary measure” and was implemented to avoid an “endemic” of rough-sleepers.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Indeed, the ideal situation, which we are working towards, is that emergency accommodation is not needed and that everyone is living in a home of their own.”