Plans for prefabs to ease homeless crisis

These are the prefab homes that Dublin’s four local authorities are banking on to solve the homelessness crisis, which cost €4.5m in hotel bills alone in the first six months of the year.

The modular units were put on show yesterday as part of the solution to the crisis that now sees 607 families with 1,275 children without homes in Dublin.

But while six different styles of prefabricated homes of differing cost and finish were shown off at the site on East Wall Road, the homelessness authority was not prepared to outline the potential sites it has examined in the greater Dublin area that are being considered for these projects.

“This is all about starting a conversation on providing a possible solution to a crisis that is unsustainable for homeless families and unsustainable for our councils,” said Cathal Morgan, the director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).

The two-bedroom units which are designed for a family of five cost from €35,000 up to around €80,000 to install.

If an average of €60,000 per two-bedroom unit is examined, councils could have bought 75 modular homes for the money spent on hotels alone in the first six months of the year.

They could potentially have them as fully functioning homes for the next 20 to 30 years and still make use of them at the end of that time.

The DRHE said the houses can then be easily and quickly replaced and possibly recycled for other uses such as student accommodation.

Some of the prefabs are laid out in the traditional style of houses with separate rooms off a hallway, while others feel more like open-plan apartments.

Some are brighter with bigger windows and are designed to stand alone while others can be stacked into blocks.

While many people will have an image of old school prefabs which were freezing in the winter and roasting in the summer, these new units are built to modern housing standards and are fully insulated, energy-efficient and fire-safe.

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