27 July 2000 Edition

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Christy Burke secures funding for Haven House hostel

``I was totally appalled when I saw the conditions in Haven House where 30 homeless women, some with families are accommodated,'' says Christy Burke. ``I just couldn't believe it. It is the nearest thing to a prison camp - barbed wire everywhere, no where to play for the children, except a tiny yard. No facilities. It is a disgrace.''

Haven House is for single women, and single mothers with their children. It's a half-way house to another half-way house, the Regina Ceoli Hostel, right next door to Haven House, in Dublin's North Inner City.

Vicky lived in Haven House for 4 months with her two children. She takes up the story. ``We had two bunk beds between the 3 of us, in a tiny room. There is no shower, one bathroom between 4 mothers and their 10 kids. There was one TV between all of us in an area which was a kitchen, with 4 rings for cooking our meals, and no fridge.''

Vicky lived in Haven House, before `graduating' to the Regina Ceoli, run by the Legion of Mary. Next month she will be 1 year homeless, living in hostel accommodation.

Sinn Fin Dublin City Councillor Christy Burke, so appalled by what he saw in Haven House, brought it to the North Area Health Board Committee, and the CEO confirmed this week (July 25th) that funding would be made available for a massive refurbishment of Haven House, starting in September.

Why did it take Christy Burke's intervention before anything was done about it?

``The Corporation now has plans to demolish Haven House, Regina Ceoli and the Morning Star hostels. But when? The Corporation hasn't said,'' Christy Burke explains. ``It is typical of the whole problem of homelessness in the city, where one statutory agency doesn't know what another agency is doing, and they pass the buck, agency to agency, whilst the homeless people continue to live in appalling conditions, often on the street, year after year.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
 

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