“A new internationally shared understanding of homelessness and what works in tackling homelessness has emerged and this tells us that the manner in which our services are currently configured means that they are not always maximally optimized towards either preventing or ending homelessness.” (O’Sullivan, 2012)

Very progressive policy exists in the housing field in Ireland which emphasises the need to focus on securing tenancies for individuals who experience chronic or episodic homelessness (e.g. Homelessness Policy Statement (2013), Implementation Plan on the State’s Response to Homelessness (2014) and Social Housing Strategy 2020 (2014). Despite this, large amounts of resources are focused on providing emergency, congregated accommodation to those people who regularly find themselves homeless. This group are often vulnerable because they have been homeless for a very long time.

The numbers in emergency sheltered accommodation have increased significantly. Emergency accommodation does not have the capacity to address the individual needs of the people and is not designed to meet their need to progress to having their own home.

Evidence from Ireland and abroad demonstrates that the ‘housing first’ approach is the most effective way to address the needs of these people. ‘Housing first’ emphasises securing tenancy for individuals and then providing them with a range of supports to help them maintain their tenancy. This is a very person-centred approach which focuses on drawing on available mainstream resources and supports within society and enable people to lead self-determined lives. This approach is particularly suited to homeless people who have mental health and/or addiction issues.

Programme areas

Mental Health

Working with the HSE to support the development of recovery-based, cost-effective services and a national initiative to develop opportunities for people with mental health difficulties to remain in, or to access, work in mainstream settings.

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Working with the HSE on a targeted and accelerated change programme. This includes supporting 10 congregated sites to build self-directed, community-based services and to support people with disabilities living in these settings to move to their own homes in the community. 

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Helping to facilitate the development and improvement of 'Housing First' supports for people who are long-term homeless through an integrated approach by the Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government; Local Authorities (LA); Department of Health; HSE; and Genio.

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Helping to facilitate a programme designed to strengthen local and regional responses to drug and alcohol use in Ireland. This is being implemented by the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (DATFs) with support from the Department of Health and HSE. 

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Specialists in transforming social services

We work with Government and Philanthropy
to support people in leading self-determined lives

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19-21 Westland Square
Pearse St., Dublin 2, D02 YH27, Ireland
Phone +353 1 707 1700
Email [email protected]