Mother forced to live in hotel appeals for public help in renovating boarded up houses

By Mark O’Brien (@markjsobrien)

A mother who has been living in a hotel with her young daughter for over eight months has launched a campaign appealing for public help to renovate boarded up houses in Dublin.

Erica Fleming, 30, from Coolock in Dublin is asking people to pledge any assistance that they can give in renovating these homes, known as voids, in order to force Dublin City Council into taking action.

Once enough pledges to carry out work such as painting walls, fixing heating and electrics and cleaning, have been collected, Ms Fleming plans to approach Dublin City Council with the proposal.

Speaking to RTE News last night Ms Fleming, who recently appeared in the RTE documentary ‘My Homeless Family’, said:

The council have told me that it’s supposed to be a six week turnaround for a void. So as soon as a place gets boarded up, six weeks later a new family is supposed to be in there. That’s just not happening.

Ms Fleming believes that by approaching the council with pledges from ordinary citizens willing to help renovate the properties, it will help “shame them into action”.

There are currently 581 families, including 1,201 children living in hotel accommodation in Dublin at a cost of approximately €36,000 per year.

There are almost a thousand boarded up houses in the Dublin region.

Acting Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government Alan Kelly committed last year to have these houses refurbished as soon as possible but Ms Fleming feels that progress has been too slow to date.

“Solving the homeless crisis in Ireland is possible, something that politicians and officials seem to have lost sight of,” she says.

“Offering to fix up empty properties is only part of the solution but what we’re really doing together is showing decision makers that we’ve had enough and are no longer prepared to stand by and watch the endless cycle of hand-wringing and excuses.”

Anyone who wishes to pledge to help the campaign can do so by completing this form.

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