Home Sweet Home held a rally at Apollo House this afternoon, shortly after their application to extend the occupation of the building was denied by the High Court.
Earlier today, Home Sweet Home held a rally at Apollo House to mark the deadline of January 11, the date by which residents were ordered to clear out of the building. Shortly before the rally, the legal team representing the Home Sweet Home movement went to the High Court to apply to push back the date by which Apollo House was to be vacated. In court, Home Sweet Home stated that the alternative accommodation was not up to the standards agreed upon by them and Dublin City Council. Though the request to move back the date was not granted, the crowd remained at Apollo House, with residents and supporters singing and leading chants from the roof of the building. A countdown to 12 noon rang out across the crowd, as that was the date and time by which Apollo House was supposed to be empty.
Spokeswoman for HSH, Rosi Leonard, spoke out against the actions – and the inactions – of the Government in response to the housing crisis, saying that their lack focus should be “a source of huge anger for everybody in this country who is affected by the housing crisis." Though this anger was apparent in the speeches given by activists at the rally, overall there was an atmosphere of community. The crowd of Home Sweet Home staff and supporters came together and linked arms around the building, making it clear that until an agreement can be reached, HSH is here to stay.
Home Sweet Home had declared that they would only vacate Apollo House if the alternative accommodation for residents was held to the same standards of safety and cleanliness offered within Apollo Hose itself. Staff member Tony Walsh described the conditions of the hostels that were provided by Dublin City Council. "We've had residents come back with pictures that show blood on the walls, and alcohol and drugs being used. They're not safe. Apollo House has raised the bar here for how hostels should be run. They're clean, they're safe, you have keys, there are services in the community here to help (residents) move forward.
"We want change, that's what we want," he added. "And we're not moving out of here until everybody is housed. If there's as much as one left, we're staying. There were six other volunteers who were told they're not getting housed, and I'm one of them."
We're not knocking on NAMA doors here," Walsh said, "we're kicking 'em in."
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