It has taken over 11 years and intense political pressure but a step-down facility for recovering addicts, which has lain vacant for over a decade, is finally set to open in Cork on Wednesday.
The Cuan Mhuire charity confirmed that it will open a 16-bed step-down facility for clients exiting its residential detox and rehab programmes, in a former bed and breakfast on the city’s Western Rd.
The Teach Mhuire facility, which is designed to break the cycle of homelessness, will provide them with a roof over the heads and a supportive environment while they continue their recovery.
The long-awaited opening follows a breakthrough before Christmas in a long and protracted funding stand-off which had prevented the charity from opening the doors of the much-needed facility.
The property was bought by Cuan Mhuire in 2007 on, what it says was, an understanding that state funding would be forthcoming to fund its operation.
But when the recession hit, the money never materialised and the charity was forced to mothball the property.
It has lain vacant since, in turnkey condition, complete with furniture and bedding.
As the homeless crisis escalated in recent years, the charity began to highlight the scandal of such a facility lying idle and an intense campaign was mounted to secure funding.
However, the HSE and Cork City Council each side-stepped responsibility for funding the project, with the HSE arguing that it favoured a step-up project.
But in late November, came the breakthrough. In a briefing to local politicians, the HSE said it was now “supportive” of the project.
Confirmation that €300,000 was being made available to fund the centre’s opening this year came just days before Christmas.
Cuan Mhuire, founded by Sr Consilio, provides stepdown, or transition, houses in Dublin, Limerick, Galway, and Monaghan.
Almost half of those who avail of Cuan Mhuire’s treatment services have been homeless at the time of admission, and almost a third have nowhere to go once treatment finishes.
A charity spokesman said the proposed facility would provide 6,000 bed nights in Cork annually and would deliver immediate savings of some €180,000 in the cost of providing emergency accommodation, and even greater long-term savings to the State by preventing or reducing long-term homelessness in the first instance.