Housing service secures homes for 140 in first year

A service which helps homeless people to move into private rented accommodation has found homes for more than 140 people in Cork since it began work last year, according to a new report.

The access housing unit (AHU), operated by the charity Threshold, opened in summer 2012 from its base in Cork City.

Diarmaid O’Sullivan, services manager for Threshold in Cork, said that in 50 cases in the past year, it moved people from emergency homeless shelters to private rented accommodation and, in another 39 cases, other homeless people — including families — who were not in hostels were also accommodated.

This latter category includes those “couch-surfing” with family and friends, a family whose house had been repossessed, people leaving direct provision, and a person squatting in a property with no running water or electricity.

“The 89 cases we worked on included a significant number of families,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “In total, over the past year, we have worked to move 92 adults and 50 children out of homelessness.”

The AHU works with voluntary and statutory agencies in Cork City and the county, such as the Simon Shelter.

Threshold said its tailored approach has meant 85% of clients dealt with have remained out of homelessness.

“By working closely with other homeless services and landlords, the access housing unit can house people in a matter of months,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

“The successes we have achieved to date have been made possible through these very important collaborations with landlords and organisations in the statutory and community sectors.”

The AHU has a twin-track approach, with a prevention model aiming to keep people from entering homelessness and its tenancy sustainment service working to move people from emergency into private rented accommodation.

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