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Housing: Homeless Accomodation

Accommodation Options for Homeless People

Local authorities have a wide range of powers to secure accommodation for homeless people. In addition to the direct provision of housing, local authorities can make arrangements with voluntary organisations to make accommodation available for homeless people, provide financial or other assistance to homeless people and, if necessary, arrange private accommodation. 

Who is a Homeless Person?

A homeless person is defined in section 2 of the Housing Act, 1988, as a person, who, in the opinion of the local authority concerned: 

(a) has no accommodation available which he or any other person who normally resides with him, or might reasonably be expected to reside with him, can reasonably occupy or remain in occupation of,


(b) is living in a hospital, county home, night shelter or other such institution because he does not have accommodation of the kind referred to in (a).


is unable to provide accommodation from his own resources.
This means that persons who have no accommodation available to them and persons living in night shelters etc. solely because they have no other accommodation may be regarded as homeless by the local authority where they are unable to provide accommodation from their own resources. 

What Accommodation is Available?

Accommodation, depending upon whether the need is for long term, transitional or emergency accommodation, can take the form of local authority housing, hostel type accommodation provided by statutory agencies or voluntary bodies, emergency bed and breakfast accommodation provided in the private sector, or suitable private rented accommodation. 

Local authority housing

People in need of permanent housing can apply to a local authority for a tenancy in a local authority house or flat. Applicants are assessed by the local authority and, if eligible, are placed on the local authority's housing list. The time taken before a tenancy is allocated will depend on the demand for housing in the local authority's area and the individual circumstances of applicants waiting for housing. In the meantime, a homeless person may remain in a hostel, bed and breakfast, or private rented accommodation.

Hostel type accommodation

A range of hostel type accommodation is available for homeless people. Some of this accommodation is available on a nightly (usually first-come) basis while some is used as transitional or long-term accommodation. Voluntary bodies operate accommodation for homeless people throughout the country; these include the St Vincent de Paul Society (in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and other locations), the Simon Community (in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Dundalk), the Iveagh Trust, Focus Ireland (in Dublin) etc. In the Dublin area, Dublin Corporation and the Eastern Regional Health Authority also operate hostel accommodation. 

Bed and Breakfast accommodation

Where the accommodation needs of a homeless person or family are immediate and acute and no suitable hostel accommodation is available they may be referred by a local authority, a health board or other body to bed and breakfast type accommodation until their needs and options can be more fully established. 

Private Rented Accommodation

Suitable private rented accommodation may be an appropriate accommodation option for some homeless people. 

Accommodation for Victims of Domestic Violence

Health boards and voluntary bodies provide accommodation and services specifically for victims of domestic violence. The local Health Board will have details of accommodation and services in its area.

Contact details for Housing

Rental Accomodation Scheme (RAS) Central Housing Office - Swinford
College House
Station Road
(094) 9251495

Ballina Municipal District Offices
Ballina Civic Offices
Arran Place
(096) 76100

Claremorris Municipal District Offices
Kilcolman Road
Claremorris: (094) 9372310

Ballinrobe Housing Office:
Kilmaine Road
Balinrobe: (094) 9541111

West Mayo Municipal District Offices
Belmullet Civic Centre
Church Road
(097) 81004

Westport Housing Office

Altamount Street
(098) 50400

Castlebar Municipal District Office
Áras an Chontae
The Mall
094 9024444

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