Minister Alan Kelly wants to see 350 families in modular homes next year under a fast track plan for modular homes.
A spokesperson for the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive told The City that Mr Kelly was so impressed with the modular homes being demonstrated in Dublin 3 that he wanted to see 150 families housed by Christmas, with a further 350 moving in next year.
Some 75 families a month are becoming homeless in Dublin every month. The latest stats show that there were 607 families in emergency accommodation in the city in the last week of August. There were 1,275 children in emergency accommodation at this time.
The modular housing demonstration project was backed by the Director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Cathal Morgan.
“We feel that modular housing is capable of responding to the housing needs of homeless households who are currently accommodated in commercial hotels throughout the Dublin region,” he said.
Mr Morgan added that by bringing the proposal into effect “the Dublin local authorities will engage with all relevant stakeholders and with Central Government to consider procurement and provision at a scale required to effectively address family homelessness in Dublin”.
The modular housing providers who are involved in the exhibition include Modular Homes Ireland, Portakabin and Roankabin, among others.
The project aims to showcase a number of different styles of modular homes from the aforementioned companies, giving local authorities a way to, perhaps, solve the escalating homeless crisis which sees families living in single rooms in hotels.
Conditions in temporary accommodation mean that families often cannot cook for themselves and they must often abide by curfews.
Ali Grehan, an architect working for Dublin City Council, noted that the long term plan was not for these homeless families to be permanently rehoused in these units. Ms Grehan has championed similar projects in other countries.
“There is a considerable track record across Europe and the States of system built housing delivering well designed homes affordably, quickly and suitable for different contexts,” she said.
Another architect who has spoken highly of the project is London based Tom Teatum who played a role in setting up the Demonstration Project in Dublin 3. Mr Teatum said that while similar efforts are being made to rehouse London’s homeless population, it appears to him that authorities in Dublin have gone ‘a step further’.
“This joined-up effort by local authorities to identify a housing solution that meets the needs of homeless families is the first I am aware of,” Mr. Teatum said of the initiative.
Teatum added that this is an innovative development.
”Dublin’s focus on modular housing designs that bring quality and reliability and that can be speedily developed shows great leadership in response to its homeless crisis. It is an example to be followed in London and elsewhere,” he said.
The Modular Homes Ireland house that was on show is available to the government at a cost of €85,000 per unit.