Homeless in Ireland – alternative types of housing

Anne Marie Whelan

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Cardboard shelter : Photo credit – Craig Rodway (Flickr)

There are currently 260,000 vacant homes in Ireland   and part of the problem lies in the fact that NAMA owns the majority of these vacant houses.  They need to be persuaded to make them available to the homeless on Ireland.

This image and message posted on Twitter, speaks volumes about the state of Ireland’s housing system. There are homes without people and people without homes, to paraphrase homeless activist Glen Hansard. So, it stands to reason that the thousands of homes that lay vacant in Ireland could easily be filled by the thousands of people who are homeless.

A possible short term solution to this long term problem, may lie in affordable alternative housing solutions. There are many examples of  innovative and alternative types of housing that could provide a temporary solution to the long term problem of homelessness in Ireland, such as the Pump and Jump cart on the Urbanist website.  They seem to have taken inspiration from the humble snail,  who carries his home around with him and used this inspiration to design some very clever, temporary and alternative solutions to homelessness.  These portable homes/shelters  are small and easy to move around, such as the unusual looking and portable Wheeley.  It can carry up to 250 pounds of personal items and the push-handle functions as a brake:

Portable home  – Photo credit –  Zo  loft architecture and design (Flickr)

However, using these alternative types of housing, as a solution to the homeless crisis in Ireland,  might cause a public outrage because public areas e.g. footpaths etc  might get clogged up with alternative types of housing.  However, if this did happen, it might get the housing minster, Simon Coveney and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny to finally put an end to the homeless crisis in Ireland, once and for all and fill up the 260,00 vacant homes with the thousands of homeless people, who are in desperate need of a home.

 

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Anne Marie Whelan