Minister gives go-ahead for 100-bed medical facility for rough sleepers in Dublin

Minister gives go-ahead for 100-bed medical facility for rough sleepers in Dublin
(Left to right) Jimmy Wynn, volunteer facilitator in Aftercare Services, Councillor Alison Gilliland, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Sam McGuinness, Dublin Simon Community CEO. Pic: Conor McCabe Photography.

The Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has announced a 100-bed Medical Treatment and Recovery Facility in Dublin for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The Minister said: “The construction of a new facility will allow increased supports to homeless individuals who require addiction supports. It will see the expansion of the bed capacity from 36 to 100, allowing many more people who are experiencing homelessness to receive the supports that they need.

"This increased number of beds, together with the establishment of Rapid Access Stabilisation and a Step Up / Step Down facility will allow Dublin Simon Community to extend its services to a significantly larger number of clients.

"It will support many individuals currently rough sleeping to exit homelessness to a home.”

Planning permission for the new six-storey, 5,889 sq/m development at Ushers Island is already in place and today’s confirmation of funding means that work on the site can start before the end of the year. It is expected to be completed before the end of 2021.

    Core and complementary services at the 100-bed treatment facility will include.

  • Core services:
  • 1) Alcohol and Benzodiazepine Detoxification Unit for people who are homeless.
  • 2) Rapid Access Stabilisation service in partnership with Merchants Quay Ireland.
  • 3) Expansion of the Low Threshold Residential Addiction Recovery service.
  • 4) Step Up /Step Down (Intermediate care) unit for people with complex health needs, in collaboration with hospitals and in partnership with Safetynet Primary Care.
  • 5) Blood Borne Virus Unit (BBV) to support stabilisation of clients on medication and reduce substance misuse in order to address their addiction.
  • Complementary services:
  • 6) ‘Sure Steps’ Counselling services for individuals who are homeless
  • 7) Aftercare services for those recovering from problematic drug or alcohol use.
  • 8) Addiction specific In-reach Homeless Action Team involving the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and the HSE.
  • 9) Health and Wellbeing, Client Involvement, Literacy and Personal Development services on site.

The announcement was welcomed by Dublin Simon Community CEO, Sam McGuinness, who said: “Today’s announcement by Minister Eoghan Murphy is very welcome. We must acknowledge the enormous effort and funding support from Minister Murphy, the Department of Housing officials and Department of Health, plus the extraordinary support of Dublin City Council Deputy Chief Executive, Brendan Kenny, and senior executives of the HSE.

“Without their continued vision and commitment this resource for people who are homeless could never happen. This new purpose-built facility at Ushers Island is not about just changing lives, it is saving the lives of those who are among the most vulnerable people in our society.

“Our clients experience multiple social barriers when trying to access healthcare. As a consequence, clients who are homeless tend not to access healthcare or addiction treatment in the first place, or when they do, lack sufficient supports after their treatment to recover; this leads to higher mortality and morbidity rates."

The Minister also said that the funding of the facility was an important element of the Government’s response to resolving homelessness.

The funding for the building will be provided by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Health and the HSE will meet the operational costs of the facility.

Dublin Simon Community also revealed the impact of its intervention in the housing and homelessness crisis in its Annual Review 2018 as it marks its 50th year in operation.

In 2018, Dublin Simon Community delivered housing, health and support services to 7,684 people and families - a 22% increase in overall service delivery since 2017.

    Particular areas of impact in 2018 include:

  • Resettled 1,050 adults and 1,081 children (928 households) out of homelessness and into homes, a 27% increase on the previous year.
  • Homelessness Prevention teams worked with 674 adults and 599 children (632 households) to prevent them from losing their home. A 10% increase.
  • 862 adults and children were housed in Dublin Simon Community independent and supported housing for singles, couples and families.
  • 1,087 people were provided treatment, recovery, aftercare and counselling services.
  • Accommodation stock increased to 672 units serving almost 2,200 people during the year.

Mr McGuinness said: “Looking back at the activity of Dublin Simon Community in 2018 we can see that the homeless and housing crisis continued to escalate.

"This 14% increase means that 1,724 adults and 1,680 children would be otherwise reliant on emergency accommodation."

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