Saturday 17 August 2019

Homes and supports for 12 rough sleepers

Housing officer Padraig O’ Gorman
Housing officer Padraig O’ Gorman

Maria Pepper

Rough sleepers in Wexford are to be given homes and 'wrap-around' supports under a Housing First Initiative by Wexford County Council in association with Focus Ireland.

The new initiative is designed to address the complex needs of adults who have a history of rough sleeping and those residing in supported temporary accommodation.

Senior Housing Officer Padraig O'Gorman said the programme will have a full-time housing officer based in Wexford County Council, with a caseload of 12 clients, supported by a team leader who will be shared equally between Wexford and Carlow County Council. A full-time psychologist will be available to all five south-east local authorities involved in the initiative.

Mr. O'Gorman said 12 one-bedroom properties will be allocated in the Wexford area with people only being housed when a care package has been put in place.

Focus Ireland was awarded the Housing First contract for the south-east region after a successful joint proposal was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government by Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford, seeking finance under the Service Reform Fund.

Mr. O'Gorman said 12 Housing First tenancies will be allocated to homeless people in Wexford with the first due to be approved in the next week or two.

Wexford County Council will supply six of the tenancies and Focus Ireland will provide the other six units.

It is expected that all 12 will be placed within the next 10 to 12 months, he said.

'A main objective in the south east region is eliminating the need for rough sleeping and on this basis, it was agreed that the priority clients to benefit from the Housing First project would be rough sleepers, followed by complex clients residing in emergency accommodation for a period of more than six months', he said.

Sinn Fein councillor Tom Forde asked if rough sleepers at Ferrybank in Wexford would be considered for the scheme and he was told they would.

Independent councillor David Hynes said there are people who find it difficult to fit in because of years of struggling with addiction or a mental health issue and this initiative will provide them with built-in supports.

Independent councillor Mary Farrell said she would like to see housing and supports being delivered in the other towns of the county as well.

Mr. O'Gorman said the Department have provided funding for a two-year pilot project so it is a resource issue but he is hopeful that in the future, the project will be rolled out further.

New Ross Standard