A three-storey bed-and-breakfast that was idle for 12 years after it was bought by a charity as a step-down facility for people with addiction is to officially open today. This follows an allocation of operational funding by the HSE.
The Teach Mhuire site, on Western Road in Cork City, was refurbished 12 years ago ago by the addiction treatment charity Cuan Mhuire as a step-down facility for men exiting rehab. However, they were unable to obtain the €300,000 in annual funding required to run it.
This was because the HSE and Cork City Council couldn’t agree on who should pay for its annual operational costs. The HSE finally granted the funding late last year.
Michael Guerin, addictions counsellor with Cuan Mhuire, says they are delighted with the work done so far at the site: “It is being officially opened today. It is full at the moment and has been full since we opened, on January 9. We have 16 people in there. We have remained at full capacity and there are waiting lists to get in. It is over-subscribed.
“Five residents have already completed their stay here. Five have gone out and five more have come in to replace them. We are more than happy with how things are going so far.”
Cuan Mhuire, which treats people with addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling, bought the 16-bedroom house in 2007 for €2.1m. The group’s aim was for it to be a supportive environment for people who had left rehab and who needed help as they continued their journey to sobriety.
The requirement for funding for the site was highlighted over the years by Helping Cork’s Homeless, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, and former Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Fergal Dennehy. Pressure was also exerted on the relevant authorities by Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke.
Almost half of those who avail of Cuan Mhuire’s rehab treatment services are homeless at the time of admission. Almost a third have nowhere to go once treatment ends.
Sr Consilio Fitzgerald, of Cuan Mhuire, said one of the highlights of 2018 was the long-awaited announcement that Teach Mhuire would open its doors to 16 homeless men who are in early recovery, and who are commencing reintegration into society.
“The value of such ‘step-down’ facilities has been evident to Cuan Mhuire for decades. This brings our national ‘step-down’ bed capacity to 114. Now, for the first time, we can offer the people of Cork and Kerry a continuum of care from assessment, detoxification through to residential treatment, aftercare, and supportive housing. This we see as a huge achievement.”
Meanwhile, the Cuan Mhuire annual report indicates that there was an overall increase of 2% on bed nights in 2018, from 2017. This brings the number of bed nights provided by Cuan Mhuire in 2018 to in excess of 200,000.
Bed nights had increased by 22,000 in 2017, to a total of 196,103. Cuan Mhuire says that this continuing upward spiral on the demand for their services is a cause for concern.
It reflects a continuing increase in the number of people suffering from all forms of addiction, but mainly alcohol, drugs, and gambling.