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How do I apply for Emergency Accommodation?

If you become homeless and have nowhere to sleep for the night you can apply for Emergency Accommodation

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Emergency accommodation is a place for you to stay in if you are made homeless. The accommodation is provided as an emergency and short-term solution to homelessness and can be subject to review. The current housing crisis has caused the number of homeless young people in rise in Ireland due to the lack of affordable rental accommodation and social housing. If you are worried about becoming homeless, where possible you should reach out to family and friends for support . They may be able to provide you with temporary accommodation while you try to find a more permanent solution. 

What types of emergency accommodation are there?

The most common places used for emergency accommodation for single people or couples are hostels. Other places used for emergency accommodation include bed and breakfasts, hotels and family hubs, and these places are used in situations where hostels are not suitable. These are primarily for families however, they can be provided if you have special medical or social needs depending on availability.


Can be used for long or short term, and some provide meals and other services. There is a charge for most hostels, however, the local authority can waive the fee on a case by case basis. People can be placed in a hostel on a night by night basis, they may get a rolling booking on a weekly basis. A rolling booking is when the booking continues for a certain period until the hostel is told otherwise. Some hostels also provide 3 months placements, these are known as Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) and they provide support workers available to support the residents out of homelessness.

Family Hubs

Family hubs are used for families with children who are experiencing homelessness. Family Hubs have the security of on-going placement that a hotel might not provide. Hubs also have separate bedrooms, spaces for play and homework and either provides a communal kitchen or meals. Find out more on family hubs.

There are extra supports available for homeless families. Children under the age of 5 with parents who are homeless (or homeless transitioning to permanent accommodation) get 25 hours of childcare free a week. This includes 15 hours of free pre-school, and a daily meal. Public transport is also free to those living in emergency accommodation to cover school journeys and family travel.


Women and children who are victims of domestic violence may be accommodated in dedicated refuges for protection. It is important to know that these are not considered homeless accommodation by some local authorities and some may not recognise the woman and children as homeless. SAFE Ireland provide information on refuges for women and children around Ireland. Men experiencing domestic abuse can seek advice from Men's Aid - unfortunately there are no domestic abuse refuges for men in Ireland.

How do I apply for emergency accommodation?

If you are homeless you need to present to your local authority which will assess whether you are eligible for support.

Contacting your local authority

If you are homeless you should contact your local authority and let them know you are homeless. They will then do an assessment to determine what type of support they can offer you. Find more information on accessing emergency accommodation in Dublin, Cork and Galway below. 

If you are outside of these cities, contact your local authority directly.

What does the assessment to get emergency accommodation involve?

To be eligible for emergency accommodation, you will first have to go through an initial assessment of your personal situation and details. This includes:

  • Proving your identity - be sure to have some photo ID
  • Providing your accommodation history - you will need to confirm where you have lived beforehand and for how long. Make sure you bring proof of last permanent address and proof of homelessness
  • Showing support and need for emergency accommodation - you will need to provide proof of homelessness to have your need checked
  • It will be checked whether you are registered or are eligible for social housing support from the local authority - you will need proof of income
  • In the case of under 18s, the Tusla social worker will assess the situation of the young person individually

Can I access emergency accommodation if I am under 18?

If you are under 18, it is the responsibility of the Child and Family agency (Tusla) to respond to your needs if you are homeless. If you are homeless or at risk and are under 18, you need to contact your local Tusla office. If your local office is closed, you should go to the nearest Garda station, and they will contact the on-call social worker to help you.

Accessing emergency accommodation in Dublin, Cork and Galway

Find more information on accessing emergency accommodation in Dublin, Cork and Galway. For outside of these areas, contact your local authority.


If you are sleeping rough contact Dublin's Housing First Intake Team by phoning 086 8139015 from 9am to 11pm, 7 days a week until 11pm.

If you are not an Irish Citizen then accessing emergency accommodation may be dependent upon your residency rights, the length of time you have been living in Ireland and also how long you have been living in a specific area.

  • If you are not an Irish Citizen and are from the European Economic Area or outside this contact the 24 hour Freephone 1800 724 724 and will be provided with an emergency response/ temporary accommodation on a one night basis
  • You will then need to go to the New Communities Unit in your local authority to be see if you are eligible for social housing supports
  • If you are not eligible you need to contact the new communities section of your local authority. If they cannot assist contact the New Communities Unit, 77 Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin 1 Monday to Friday between 10 a.m. to 11.30 a.m., 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Call: (01) 673 2030

Check for updates to services.


  • Those presenting for emergency accommodation are assessed in City Hall by Cork City Council staff, who will then refer the client to the appropriate emergency accommodation
  • The office will be open from 10.00am to 12.00 and 2.00pm to 4.00pm. The contact number is 021 4924248

Click here for more information on emergency homeless services in Cork.


  • Present to Galway City Council’s Housing Department, City Hall, College Road, Galway. It is open from 9:30 -13:00 Monday – Friday, ph:091 894372.
  • If you require assistance outside these hours, contact COPE Galway on freephone 1800 788 887

What is the Housing First Initiative?

People in emergency accommodation for long periods of time may be able to access the Housing First initiative. This initiative allows the possibility of access to permanent housing. The Housing First Initiative aims to support people who have experienced homelessness on a long term basis, to move from using emergency accommodation or rough sleeping into their own home. Tenancy as well as physical and mental health supports are provided as needed. This initiative, aimed at the most vulnerable homeless people, believes a stable home and health support is the best way to make sure people stay out of homelessness for good. It has already been in operation in Dublin for many years.

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Published Jan­u­ary 24th2019
Last updated Jan­u­ary 30th2019
Tags housing APcontent
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