Since Depaul’s inception we have delivered specialist services in line with our values as an organisation. Over the last decade we have been a voice and a place of comfort for those most in need in our society. We have stepped up when emergencies have arisen and taken chances to provide the best possible services and outcomes for our service users. As we move into a new strategic cycle this document will outline Depaul’s declaration of intent in supporting vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.
In the last 10 years’ homelessness has grown exponentially, particularly in the Republic of Ireland. Across both jurisdictions more people are experiencing homelessness than ever before. Many parts of society have now been affected. Depaul stepped up and met this challenge head on. We provided emergency accommodation when it was needed most, at the peak managing over 200 emergency beds. Through advocacy and partnership, we have reduced this number greatly. We believe there is a better way to meet the needs of those experiencing or at risk of homelessness on the island of Ireland.
However, as we move into a new cycle so too must our focus. Depaul believes services and interventions require greater balance. As an organisation we will work toward this. The overreliance on temporary and emergency accommodations must change. There needs to be a shift toward more prevention, community and housing-led services. This is something Depaul will strive for over the next number of years through this strategic plan.
Depaul believes there should be a greater emphasis on preventing homelessness as we progress. Services which provide a focus on prevention will not only stop homelessness but will also prevent other negative elements that come with homelessness. For example, anxiety, stress, poor mental health and poor health outcomes. Keeping people in their homes and in their communities is essential.
After years of hard work and planning, the foundations have been laid and now it is time to build upon them. To help build up our service users and the options for each one of them to move away from homelessness. In this respect the role of Depaul Housing and our housing-led service models will be pivotal. We have created Depaul Housing to pioneer long term housing options for people who use our services. The potential to support our Depaul service users is vast and it is our duty to realise this potential. Our housing- led approaches will work to support our mission of ending homelessness for vulnerable people. We believe we can transform more lives through Depaul Housing and housing-led work in the coming years.
Both Ireland and Northern Ireland are changing places, where homelessness can be felt across all parts of society. As an organisation Depaul must be vigilant. As we move forward we commit to taking a greater role in advocating for those we support, for the most complex individuals experiencing homelessness. In this respect Depaul plan to use our voice and expertise more to advocate for those we support, and work to drive change across our society.
We will continue to innovate, something Depaul has always been good at. Throughout our last strategic cycle, we have created pioneering services that work with the most marginalised people in society. We believe to truly make an impactful change, we need to identify trends around homelessness and in turn understand the need to innovate and diversify our service delivery. Through key partnerships and building relations we have made a real impact in many new areas. Diversity within our service delivery will continue to be an objective as we move forward.
We believe that our strategic vision outlined in this document will have a lasting impact on the lives of those experiencing homelessness. Depaul has always been there for those on the margins of society and we will continue that tradition.
Depaul, established in 2002 in Ireland and 2005 in Northern Ireland is a leading cross-border organisation. We opened our first service in Dublin to provide specialist support to those who are vulnerable and marginalised in society.
We offer support and guidance to break the cycle of homelessness, and assist our service users in making positive choices for their future. Depaul believes homelessness has no place.
Our vision is one of a society in which everyone, across the world, has a place to call home and a stake in their community.
Our mission is to end homelessness and change the lives of those affected by it.
We celebrate the potential of people.
We put our words into action.
We aim to take a wider role in civil society. We believe in rights and responsibilities.
Depaul currently provides over 30 services across Ireland and Northern Ireland to families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
These services are provided under 5 main categories:
Families & Young People
High Support Accommodation
Health & Rehabilitation
Over the course of this strategic plan Depaul will work towards impactful positive change across our society in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The plan sets out five high level strategic themes with impact statements aligned to each one. The development of this plan took place over the course of 2020, a year like no other. We believed it was and continues to be important to progress through this uncertain time, taking the learnings from the last 12 months and beyond to create a strategic vision that responds in times of crisis to make a positive impact.
The plan was guided and approved by the Depaul Board of Trustees following consultation with a number of internal and external stakeholders. The feedback from these consultations has resulted in the development of a strategic plan that will carry us forward from 2021- 2023. This plan will be supported by strategic key performance indicators as well as annual business plans that align with each theme and will be reviewed on a regular basis by the Executive Leadership Team and Board of Trustees.
As Depaul’s services continue to expand and adapt according to the presenting needs of our service users and the issues surrounding homelessness, we reflect on the journey of our services.
From laying the foundations with our traditional
Low Threshold Services…
…to stepping up by building Specialised Services centred around meeting unique needs…
…to now building permanent solutions
in our approach to Housing-led Services.
At each stage of the journey, our focus has remained consistent – the needs of our service users remains at the core of service provision. We will continue to provide services in each of these areas during our 2021 – 2023 strategic cycle once they remain relevant to the needs of our service users.
Our services can now be classified into 3 areas, considered our Service Typology:
Low Threshold Services
We will continue to do what we do well. We have a foundation of low threshold services specialising and targeting those most in need and with the most complex issues. Where services remain relevant in terms of need, Depaul will continue to respond & provide. These will include subsistence and basic shelter but must be within the context of progression of the individual and societal need.
We will provide services that are specialised in nature. People who experience homelessness and are at risk of homelessness are not a homogenous group. We wish to build on what we have learned and achieved in providing specialist services to date. We will continue our innovative approach to meet needs in a changing society and deliver quality and diverse services to people who are hard to reach.
All services will be developed with the specific objective of providing housing solutions and long term housing options for those experiencing homelessness and for supporting people within housing. This will be conducted using housing-led, and housing first approaches and working directly within communities. Depaul will also grow its role as a housing provider through Depaul Housing, where possible aiming towards those with the greatest and most complex needs.
The 2021 – 2023 Strategic Plan will centre around 5 main themes, each of which represents an area within the organisation which will drive change during the lifetime of this strategic plan.
This plan is accompanied by year on year actions and key performance indicators that will outline actions we will take and how we will monitor our progress.
The strategic plan will take the following structure:
|Objectives||High Level Outcomes Statements|
|Depaul will deliver its housing and services, taking into account the unique cultural, political, economic and demographic context in each region. Local needs and context will inform service delivery in all areas.||Services and housing are delivered in a way that is sensitive to and cognisant of local need, local barriers and opportunities and local interagency working structures, in order to maximise the benefit to our service users.|
|Depaul will develop its services and housing in line with the specific needs of people at risk of homelessness who are the most marginalised, taking into account government national housing, homelessness and social care policy with the aim of ending homelessness.||Services and housing are delivered in a way that is sensitive to and cognisant of the latest government and housing policy whilst influencing these ideas through our knowledge, experience and values, in particular through service user input.|
|Depaul will, with our statutory and NGO partners, deliver and identify gaps for bespoke specialist services for people at risk of or currently homeless, particularly for those for whom services are not currently being provided.||Depaul is innovative and pioneering new ways of working and reaching individuals and groups for whom services are not being delivered adequately.|
|Depaul will develop, manage and deliver our services in line with all legal obligations, as well as with all relevant quality standards for safe, effective and compassionate service provision.||Depaul services are the highest standard and quality possible, protecting, supporting, safeguarding and listening to those with whom we work.|
|Objectives||High Level Outcomes Statement|
|Depaul will adopt a proactive approach to supporting the health and well-being of our employees and volunteers, which acknowledges the complexity of the work we are involved in.||The Depaul workforce and volunteer base is engaged and productive. They receive the support to be psychologically and emotionally well in work, and in the best position to provide excellent support to our service users.|
|Depaul will continue to adapt to new ways of working and ensure that our workforce structures, policies and procedures are fit for purpose and reflect a more agile and flexible approach that is in line with our strategy, service delivery plans and the pillars that we work within.||Depaul offers flexible and agile working arrangements wherever possible, that maximise the effectiveness of our teams, provides choice to individual workers and reflects the needs of our services and service users.|
|Depaul will continue to evolve its learning and development programmes to reflect the changing needs of the environment and our service user group with the complexity of our work. Our leadership development programmes will be aligned to our values and ensure that our services are delivered to high quality standards.||Depaul staff and managers are competent and confident to deliver services that are of a high quality and service user focused with our values at the centre of our work. Staff and managers have access to continued learning opportunities that increase their own capacity and that of the organisation to deliver excellent services.|
|Depaul recognises that volunteers have a unique role in engaging with the lived experience of homelessness. Over the next three years, Depaul will provide a ‘Roadmap Back to Volunteering’ which will ensure our volunteering programme is fully reignited after the Covid-19 pandemic.||Depaul volunteers are engaged in meaningful, high quality and accessible volunteering experiences that enhance service user experiences.|
|Objectives||High Level Outcomes Statement|
|Depaul will continue to implement systems at all levels of the organisation to progress and promote compliance with relevant legislation, policy, standards, and regulatory frameworks. This includes commitments at Board of Trustee level, financial management, health and safety, service delivery and service user engagement levels.||Depaul maintains the highest standards of governance in line with national regulatory requirements and developments in all areas of governance, oversight and operation.|
|Depaul will seek to maximise service provision through appropriate levels of statutory funding, and to support our work we will deliver an ambitious and inspirational fundraising programme to support our new strategy.||Depaul receives funding that appropriately covers the costs of core service delivery.|
|Depaul will evolve and adapt its risk management processess, taking in to account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on service users and people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness whilst learning from other major global economic, national or regional events.||Services are prepared and able to promote, to the best of our ability, service user safety and service continuity, in the case of unforeseen significant events.|
|Depaul will manage our organisation in the most efficient, stable and sustainable manner and will improve business infrastructure and systems to support this purpose.||Depaul’s systems for Finance, People & Organisation, IT and workforce management are optimised for efficiency and effectiveness.|
|Depaul will adopt a responsible environmental approach in the delivery of its services and development of housing.||Depaul minimises our carbon footprint and the environmental impact of our service provision|
|Objectives||High Level Outcomes Statement|
|Depaul will develop a service user engagement strategy that aims to increase service user opportunity to meaningfully influence service design and delivery, to advocate on issues relevant to their experiences.||People with lived experience of homelessness influence how Depaul designs and delivers our services as well as influence how Depaul advocates to stakeholders in relation to homelessness and issues affecting the lives of those using homeless services.|
|Depaul will co-design with and provide vocational development opportunities to people using our services through our Peer Programme and other initiatives.||Depaul’s service users have opportunities for professional development and occupational experience through specific initiatives.|
|Depaul will support the establishment of tenants’ committees and representative structures in all Depaul Housing projects in line with housing industry standards.||Tenant participation, co-production and involvement is at the centre of our work to establish sustainable housing and communities for our service user demographic.|
|Objectives||High Level Outcomes Statement|
|Depaul will develop and implement an externally focused Communications and Advocacy Strategy to raise the Depaul profile through effective communications, always with the service users’ needs in mind.||Depaul’s mission to end homelessness through our values will be communicated effectively to the public. This will ensure that those who wish to support our mission and our work are aware of us and can engage with us.|
|Depaul will use data and research to develop an evidence-base for the purpose of effective interventions and advocacy on behalf of people who need our services.||Depaul has a strong evidence base from which to extend and improve service delivery, and to advocate for people who use our services.|
|Depaul will engage with government, statutory services and civil society in order to inform changes in policy and the distribution of resources. We will do so by communicating evidence from our own research and experience in providing services to people in homelessness.||Depaul will maximise the use of our platform, experience and capacity to advocate for policies, where possible in partnership with the sector and wider society, that will improve the quality of life of those using our services, and to advocate for our mission to end homelessness.|
|Depaul in Ireland will commit to be an active member of Depaul International, contributing to the Vision of a society in which everyone, across the world, has a place to call home and a stake in their community.||Depaul contributes to and benefits from an international forum, sharing and learning from good practice in service delivery in other jurisdictions.|
18 Nicholas Street, Dublin 8,
Charity Registration Number: 20048938
CHY Number: CHY14753
449 Antrim Road,
Charity Registration Number: 102995
CHY Number: XR87991
Solicitor: A&L Goodbody
Sr. Margaret O’Donovan
Chief Executive Officer
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