The Homeless Persons Unit at Drinan Street should be closed down.
This Thursday, 21st June, the Housing Action Group will picket the Homeless Persons Unit at Drinan Street, and hand in an official letter of complaint to the HSE.
The picket is to protest the disrespect shown to homeless people and families at the HSE run facility and to call for it to be closed down.
Everyone from Cork city, and from Carrigaline to Youghal in the county, who faces homelessness has to report via Drinan Street.
Cllr Diarmaid Ó Cadhla, speaking on behalf of the Housing Action Group has said:
“Conditions at Drinan Street are workhouse like, locked doors, a tiny overcrowded waiting room and an even smaller space for interviews – there is no privacy.
Young mothers who arrive with children, already in a very distressed state, share space with others who suffer from substance addiction, either alcohol or drugs, it is a frightening experience.”
Every day people reporting as homeless are directed to hostels for accommodation, usually to either Sheila’s, Oscar’s or the Brú on Mac Curtain Street – they are promised a €20 subsidy for the cost of it.
But none of these hostels take homeless people, and Drinan Street has been told that several times, yet they still refer people. When challenged as to why they refer people to where they are not welcome, a senior homeless official (name available) said “you shouldn’t have said you were referred by Drinan Street”.
Every day queues of people are given the €20 towards hostel accommodation, but there are no hostels!
Between city and county Councils nearly €10 million is spent annually on homeless services – one has to wonder where this money goes and what the Council’s hope to achieve with it.
Cllr Ó Cadhla has raised this issue and it is being considered at County Hall, he says:
“No where in Council policy on homelessness do I see anything about rehabilitation or helping individuals or families rebuild their lives. Council policy is about using Band-Aids to firefight but does nothing to address the underlying issue, and there is certainly no effort to respect the vulnerable people who find themselves homeless.”
The picket on Thursday starts at 9.30am as soon as the office opens and will continue until it closes, at 11.30am.