Chief executive of Depaul, Kerry Anthony, said they wanted to take a different approach to tackling homelessness that went beyond providing emergency ‘one night only’ accommodation.
More than half of the 200 emergency hostel beds Depaul manages in Dublin are now designated for participants in the charity’s service engagement programme.
Those taking part are given a ‘rolling bed’ that is guaranteed as long as they remain in touch with their project worker.
Of the 593 homeless persons helped to move out of the emergency hostels to more suitable accommodation last year, 419 moved to supported temporary accommodation.
Temporary emergency accommodation without specific supports was provided for 63 persons; 47 were moved to private emergency accommodation; 15 were reunited with their family; 16 moved into accommodation in the private rented sector and 24 entered drug or alcohol treatment units.
Ms Anthony said they were able to give vulnerable homeless persons the stability of a bed each night and ongoing support to break from the cycle of emergency hostels.
“Navigating the complexities of the homeless system is difficult; support is badly needed, and that’s what assertive engagement provides,” said Ms Anthony.
“It shows a pathway out, even if it is a complex and flawed one.”
Depaul has been helped by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive to work with people using its emergency service to find more permanent accommodation.
“We wanted to engage with people using our emergency service to give them more stability,” said Ms Anthony. “Providing emergency ‘one night only’ beds only meets their most basic needs.”
Ms Anthony said getting almost 600 people into more stable accommodation is a small victory.
“Of course, we would like to do more, but we are pleased that we have been able to support so many people with the resources we have.”