Press Release 22.09.2016
September 22nd, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Depaul Welcomes Launch of Pillar One of Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness
Homeless charity urges coordinated action to ensure optimal outcomes.
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney today announced the launch of Pillar One of the Government’s Action Plan for Housing & Homelessness Rebuilding Ireland. Homeless charity Depaul welcomes the announcement and urges the expeditious implementation of the measures outlined within in Pillar One to address homelessness and keep people in their homes.
Ms. Kerry Anthony, CEO of Depaul, comments: “As a charity that works on the frontlines with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness we welcome the launch of Pillar One of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. We are hopeful that the suite of measures contained within this Pillar will be implemented immediately to stem the flow of people into homelessness and improve outcomes for families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
We welcome the announcement that 200 additional emergency beds will be delivered for people at risk of sleeping rough. The number of people sleeping on the streets of Dublin has never been this high and it is critical that we work to reverse this trend by supplying additional emergency beds. Depaul operates two emergency night services for men and women at risk of sleeping rough in Dublin; these shelters are full to capacity every single night, and saw almost 2000 people enter their doors in 2015 alone.
However, while additional emergency beds are essential to provide basic food and shelter, meaningful outcomes for vulnerable people experiencing homelessness arise from structured case management whereby service users are supported to address their needs and access more stable accommodation. Depaul currently offers an Assertive Engagement service focusing on resettling people from our emergency night shelters to more stable 24-hour accommodation, and we would like to see any provision of emergency accommodation going forward geared toward helping service users exit the cycle of homelessness. From extending the hours of emergency services to providing in-reach resettlement support, this could manifest itself in different ways.”
She continues: “We embrace the measures contained within Pillar One to enhance the provision of move-on options for families in emergency hotel and B&B accommodation by delivering an additional 1500 Rapid Build Housing Units by 2018, including 300 units by the end of the year, and acquiring 1,600 vacant housing units. We will be monitoring the situation to ensure that these units are earmarked for homeless families. To ensure maximum benefits for the families, the delivery of additional units should coincide with the provision of in-reach support to help families stabilise and settle into their new communities. Depaul currently provides in-reach support to the 22 families residing in the Rapid Build Housing Units in Poppintree, and we have seen improved outcomes for the families residing in these units. In a stable living environment children perform better in school, mental and physical health improves, parent-child relationships are fostered and families are equipped to move forward to a better future. Furthermore, we are pleased with the announcement that families currently residing in homeless accommodation will be provided with additional supports; these families face extreme challenges and improving their access to basic services is essential.
It is our hope that the measures contained within this Plan to prevent homelessness, such as the enhancement of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), will have a knock-on effect on the number of people becoming homeless. To this end, we urge that the mechanisms to access HAP are as streamlined as possible, and vulnerable households are provided with the necessary supports to source private rental accommodation through the HAP scheme. The additional funding to the HSE to deliver health, mental health and addiction supports for homeless people will impact on the ability of people with complex needs to leave the label of homelessness behind. By expanding Housing First, the Government has shown its commitment to a housing-led approach to homelessness provision; it is now imperative that we work to provide more social and affordable housing to enable this approach.
While the delivery of long-term solutions must be prioritised with bricks and mortar, we hope that the measures contained within Pillar One will have an immediate and lasting impact on the lives of those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Ireland.”
Ms. Kerry Anthony, CEO of Depaul, is available for interviews on request.
For further information, contact:
Fundraising & Media Coordinator
00 353 1 453 7111
00 353 86 383 2198
Notes to Editor:
- Depaul is a leading provider of low threshold services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
- In 2015, Depaul provided 422 beds per night and over 4,000 people accessed its services.
- Depaul was founded in Dublin in 2002 and Belfast in 2005. Depaul now manages over 20 specialised accommodation and community outreach services across Dublin, Belfast, Dungannon, Derry/Londonderry, Armagh, Newry and Mourne.
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was one of Depaul’s founding partners, but Depaul is a separate charity addressing homelessness.
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