Meanwhile, On Bolton Street

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Bolt Hostel at 38/39 Bolton Street, Dublin 1

Kitty Holland, in today’s Irish Times, reports:

“Housing activists in Dublin have “reclaimed” a former hostel that has been vacant for three years, saying they will soon open it up to house homeless families.”

“Formerly known as Bolton House, the building on Bolton Street is owned by Dublin City Council and was used to accommodate homeless people before being closed in 2011.”

In recent weeks however, organisations that have emerged in response to the housing crisis came together as the Irish Housing Network and identified the building as one they could quickly put back to use as emergency accommodation.”

“Among the nine groups involved are the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Committee, the Housing Action Network, Lending Hand and An Spréach, which means “Spark” in Irish.

Meanwhile, on its Facebook page, the people behind Bolt Hostel, write:

“Folks, we are looking for some donations for The Bolt Hostel. Items needed: Emulsion paint, preferably white or cream, gloss paint; rollers, paint brushes, masking tape, floor/dust sheets; sand paper; trays + rollers; grout for tiles; white spirit; ladder; mixing pots; lengths of timber, various sizes; nails; wood glue etc..”

“Kitchen utensils; cutlery; paper cups; bowls; toilet rolls; food; tea bags; sugar; milk; washing-up stuff, sponges; washing-up liquid; black bags; clothes; floor cleaner etc.”

“A dry and wet vacuum cleaner for the carpet; dust pan and brush; mop + bucket; bleach; bathroom cleaner etc.”

“Any items to make the place more homely; pictures; saor view box; side tables; lamps; cabinets; shelves; desk; chairs; rugs shower curtains; rugs etc.”

“Bed sheets; mattress covers; cushions/pillows; net curtains; mirrors;
Any help greatly appreciated.”

Activists reclaim vacant Dublin building to house homeless (Kitty Holland, Irish Times)

Pics: Bolt Hostel (Facebook)

39 thoughts on “Meanwhile, On Bolton Street

  1. Odis

    Sounds like a good idea. I suppose the obvious question is why did the council stop using it in the first place?

    1. Miko

      Fire safety regs. FFS it’s getting tiresome. If the council had opened this up the exact same pictures would be up except that the headline would state “Firetrap” or “Hipster Homeless Shelter” yadda yadda. I’m presuming the cost to bring it to code would be extremely high especially as there is a tendency for people to cook in their rooms.

      The real question is when these organisations take responsibility for persuading the Govt to ban bedsits. Laugh as much as you want but the market needed something at the bottom. Eliminating bedsits priced out a swathe of people….

      1. Kieran NYC

        Sure re-open up the slums! They’d be grateful for a crate to rest their head on…

        People who believe affordable rent can’t simultaneously happen with quality increases are either landlords or are braindead,

  2. Anomanomanom

    Why the balaclavas and the basically naked person sitting on the roof. “Activist’s” my bum, I hope this is actually for homeless and not more anti everything morons like the ones who “protested” in dame street.

  3. Digs

    The first two ” organisations” sound spontaneously contrived. If this house is for people sleeping rough on the streets, most of whom have addiction and mental health issues, then I hope they can police the building adequately and provide some of the auxiliary needs of these very vulnerable and volatile people. Dublin City Council clearly didn’t have adequate funding to do so. It’s expensive business.

    If this is a move by a bunch of neo punk crusty new age faux anarchist types, then I hope the cops move in quickly with sticks and sprays and send them packing. We need a little legitimate and coercive violence on occasion.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      70 families a month are going homeless…. said Six One News this/last week.

      I dont think this is about providing shelter for those who’ve lost their way due to addiction, but for those families who’ve found themselves to be in the middle of a homeless crisis for whatever reasons…

      1. Vote Rep #1

        According to the link above, it was closed due to being ‘deemed “not fit for purpose”, so it needed to be upgraded’, something I’d imagine the council just didn’t have the money for, and won’t for a while seeing as their budget has been slashed.

        If something happens to the people in there due to the bad state of the building, what happens? There is a fair chance that the state will be liable. While its a horrible choice, I’d imagine that most families would rather be in a crap but safe b&b rather than a crumbling, unsafe building.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          Well, if closed for those reasons, fair enough.

          BTW, apparently it’s 60 / 70 “people” according to the post a few posts up, not families…. I’m still sure they said families on Six One

      2. Digs

        Where children are concerned I have less of an issue. If this is crusty exercise ( which I’m sure it is ) then I do take exception. Bongos, dreads, spliffs and pet albino rats make me angry. Sorry.

        1. Denny

          Even if it is its making everyone hear talk about the housing crisis for once… get behind them make a donation and the government will find the money for new housing.. Calling them smelly and naive is basically telling the government not to do a thing and that the public don’t actually want housing built…

    2. DD

      @ Digs: “We need a little legitimate and coercive violence on occasion”.

      You’re funny.

    1. scottser

      it’s not all good, sorry to say. who’s going to staff it? what do they do when they have their first overdose or how do they safely dispose of needles if they find any? who’s going to sign off on the electrics, plumbing, ventilation and other standards? who’s going to assist in a move-on from there? what happens in the event of an assault or robbery in the facility? have any of the ‘residents’ been risk assessed?

      it’s a nice idea, but there’s a reason NGOs like focus, simon, pmvt et al are contracted to provide these services – they are trained professionals acting under service level agreements. what these people have set up is an unregulated squat.

  4. Clampers Outside!

    How many empty buildings in Dublin?

    I attended a meeting, our Dublin Lord Mayor was at (before she was Mayor), and she said there was a study being conducted into all the empty buildings in Dublin, not just DCCs buildings… she said there were around 20,000+ …and the study wasn’t even complete at that point.

    1. Sinabhfuil

      Meanwhile “apartments” are being built, while 20,000 houses lie empty! If empty houses had to pay commercial rates, they would quickly be rented out!

    2. Miko

      All fit for habitation I suppose? No though that the owner might have their own plans. All for the council repossessing derelict buildings but this smells of BS…

      1. Clampers Outside!

        This study, it’s never been done before apparently. Even the council doesn’t have a record of who owns what, which was one of the reasons for the study.
        Then they can take action on those that are sitting on property… or so the point was made to us

  5. Murtles

    How many of those 20,000 are with NAMA I wonder. Suppose I became a philanthropist and had a couple of hundred grand to spare, the majority of that money would be eaten up in red tape. I know NAMA only own the debts not the buildings but the whole thing is a hoop jumping excercise and let us not be nieve, the developers are still calling the shots. They’ll happily let the majority of those buildings sit idle for years (even though they owe millions, they still own the property) decades even, until the property markets rise. Another bubble waiting for bursting, goldfish memories the lot.

    1. Kieran NYC

      You mean NAMA who were tasked with getting as much of the bailout money back as possible?

      Oh I see.

  6. TrippyRez

    I’m sure this isn’t a case of the DCC just closing down a place for the craic. As stated by others it’s mostly likely down to the fact that it’s just not safe to be used for this kind of thing. Costs for getting a place like this up to code could be significant.

    You know in new builds when the developers have to give over a certain percentage to social housing. Maybe we could have a proviso as part of that they donate a certain amount of cash to the maintenance of places like this. So homeless shelters, women’s shelters and halfway houses etc. This could alleviate some of the issue? Or is that a pipe dream?

    1. Kieran NYC

      Instead of making a percentage of housing affordable, they were allowed give a cash amount over instead.

      Which got spent on different things and got us into the current mess, unfortunately.

  7. nipper

    can anyone tell me why these two complex are vacant and would accomidate quite a few homeless families. Canon Troy Court and Clareville both on chapelizard hill in ballyfermot

  8. Lilly

    Why is Nama-owned Elmfield across from the Gallops in D18 still lying idle? Waiting for some US vulture fund to swoop? Gorgeous development, should be made available to Irish buyers ASAP, not flogged off in bulk and used to hike up rents trapping young people in the renting cycle forever.

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