Peter McVerry Trust, the housing and homeless charity which services Kildare, has proposed new measures to help tackle rural homelessness.
The measures which range from piloting a rural Housing First programme and new multi-disciplinary homeless day services comes as the latest official figures show that over 1,200 people are now homeless across rural Ireland.
The charity outlined their proposals at the National Ploughing Championships in Offaly where it also announced it would be providing housing or homeless services in 13 counties including Kildare by the end of 2018.
Pat Doyle CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “The proposals that we have published today are all about responding to the needs of people affected by homelessness in a solution focused manner. Peter McVerry Trust will always seek to do whatever it can to respond to the needs of people at risk of, or impacted by, homelessness. Over the past few years we have been engaging with an increasing number of local authorities outside of Dublin, which is a reflection of the growing need as well as our efforts to support vulnerable people. This expansion has seen us provide greater number of services and an increased number of housing units in more rural counties and has also deepen our understanding of the issues people are facing across Ireland.”
“Peter McVerry Trust has also been closely monitoring levels of rural homelessness for the past number of years. We are on record as suggesting a more targeted approach to the issue of rural homelessness could end homelessness in most parts of the country. Unfortunately, the opportunity to make a real dent in rural homelessness is now in danger of being missed as official homeless statistics for July 2018 figures show that there are now over 1,200 people homeless in rural Ireland. That is up by about 30% in 2018.
“The eight proposals put forward today are about building a strategic, innovative response to rural homelessness and to ensure that we follow international best practice when it comes to tackling the issue. While in some respects the answer to both rural and urban homelessness is housing, there is much greater difficulty in delivering wraparound supports and also providing people with access to local or regionally based services such as addiction treatment or mental health services.”
“Among the key proposals that we have laid out are the adaptation of the Housing First model to rural Ireland, the piloting of a on new integrated multi-disciplinary homeless support service, better provision of housing for single people in rural towns and villages, as well as measures to deal with long term empty homes and mortgage arrears. We hope that these proposals will be taken on board and reflected in new policy and budgetary decisions that will be taken by government in the coming weeks and months.”