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.

 “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)

Programme areas

Dementia

We are working with the Health Service Executive Ireland to develop new ways to improve the range and quality of community-based supports in order that people with dementia can continue to live at home, engaged with their local communities for as long as possible. This programme is supported by the Department of Health Ireland and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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Mental Health

In mental health we are working with the Health Service Executive Ireland to ensure people are supported to lead self-determined lives as included and valued members of the community. The Service Reform Fund (SRF) in mental health is currently underway which aims to scale reforms across Ireland. This programme is supported by the Department of Health Ireland and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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Disability

We are working with our partners to ensure people with disabilities are supported to lead self-determined lives, as included and valued members of the community. This involves a move away from traditional, often expensive, services which group and segregate people. A new phase of work is currently under development in collaboration with the Health Service Executive Ireland, the Department of Health Ireland and the Atlantic Philanthropies.

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Homelessness

Our newest programme of work is in homelessness. This programme will look at person-centred approaches which draw on available mainstream resources and supports. In particular it will take a housing-led approach. This programme will form part of the Service Reform Fund (SRF) lead by Health Service Executive Ireland and currently in development with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

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