Peter McVerry opens new centre in Louth
The Peter McVerry Trust has opened a new North East base on Laurence's Street with the aim of increasing their presence in the coming years.
They have already opened a Family Hub centre, with up to five families availing of the service.
CEO Pat Doyle said they were delighted to work with Louth County Council Director of Housing Joe McGuinness and the local authority in delivering new accommodation units.
He said they were working with 86 people in the region, including Cavan/Monaghan and 36 had been progressed.
'Some people want us, some don't,' he said, but they were keen to build partnerships and were 'up' for the challenge.
'A regional office is a sign of our commitment to Louth/Cavan/Monaghan and we are in this for the long haul.'
He confirmed that the trust were looking at a number of units in Drogheda and Dundalk and hoped to get working on them.
Joe McGuinness said the staff and the team at Louth County Council were key to the success of their own policies when it came to providing housing, adding they also worked with other agencies such as Drogheda Homeless Aid and the Women and Children's Refuge.
Latest figures had revealed 131 in Louth were homeless and they were keen that people were supported not just in terms of getting a key to a house.
'They need support before that and after that and the likes of the McVerry Trust provide specialist needs support which is very important,' he explained, adding that some tenancies just didn't work out because of that.
Helping to open the service, Fergus O'Dowd TD said it was about two years since he met the McVerry Trust in a bid to bring them to the region.
He said they were all about 'care, compassion, conviction and driving the change' and they would be working with the best local authority in the country, in Louth.
'Over 92 vacant houses in Louth are now back in commission thanks to the council policy. We need this to be a national project and maybe Joe McGuinness is the man to do that, but we'd hate to lose him,' he stated.
He said it was unacceptable to see houses just left vacant and urged that owners be contacted in a bid to sort out something.
Private tenants also being forced to leave their homes due to 'flimsy' excuses was also an issue.
'We are just a tiny drop in the ocean but we will work with any of the players to make this work,' the CEO commented.
The trust is based at 20 Laurence's Street.