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Homeless Services Funding Freeze

category national | housing | news report author Friday February 29, 2008 13:12author by Gar Report this post to the editors

On Wednesday, February 27th, news broke of the Health Services Executive’s decision to freeze funding for homeless services. This move makes an absolute mockery of government policy and the official target to eliminate homelessness by 2010. Organisations working with people who are homeless have already begun to feel the pinch of what is effectively a cutback.

On Wednesday, February 27th, news broke of the Health Services Executive’s decision to freeze funding for homeless services. This move makes an absolute mockery of government policy and the official target to eliminate homelessness by 2010. Organisations working with people who are homeless have already begun to feel the pinch of what is effectively a cutback.

Dublin Simon Community estimates that when inflation is taken into account, this means a 3% decrease in funding. They have had requests denied for 12 new projects in the area of Detox services, Supported housing and Emergency Shelter accommodation. The DePaul Trust has already completed the building of a new project on James’s St in Dublin city centre, but the funding freeze means it cannot be staffed. The same applies to a drop in centre on Middle Abbey Street, which the Anna Liffey Drug Project had been due to open.

Where does this leave the government’s official target to end homelessness?

Many believe government policies were already destined to fail this task. In a recent article Fr Peter McVerry and Eoin Carroll identify the problem with present homeless services. When someone is accommodated, whether in hostels, B&Bs or some other form of temporary accommodation, they are still homeless. Emergency hostels are still desperately needed, as anyone who has taken a walk through Dublin can testify. But these do not provide a way back into mainstream society and something most of us take for granted, a place to call home. The government’s failure to invest in social housing blocks the way to this transition for many people. A glance at the statistics reveals why. Figures for 2005 show 43,700 households nationally waiting for social housing. “On the waiting lists… homeless people(75 percent of whom are single) vie with families living in hopelessly inappropriate or overcrowded accommodation.”

If Fr McVerry is right, homelessness cannot be ended without a drastic change of policy. In the meantime, those providing services face cutbacks, as the government fails its own commitments. And ministers are still expecting a pay increase next year.

Dublin Simon Press Release, 28 February 2008 - http://www.dubsimon.ie/publications/press_releases.htm
Irish Times, February 28 2008 - http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/opinion/2008/0228/inde....html
“Homes not Hostels” in Working Notes Issue 56, November 2007 - http://www.cfj.ie

author by Jack Russell - Social Justice and Ethicspublication date Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A service to help users on the Liffey Board Walk area.
It was announced yesterday, that this service was expanded.

6 new outreach staff have been hired by the Ana Liffey Drug project (ALDP), to work with people experiencing problems with drug abuse and homelessness in the Dublin 1 area. The initiative was set up as a direct response to concerns raised over people with drug problems congregating on the boardwalk over the last number of years. The service is expected to improve the care with one to one case management of people with drug problems, as explained by Director Tony Duffin.
Defined progression roots for people using drugs such as stabilisation services will also be developed, according to Mr. Duffin.

Public areas in the local business district will also have the opportunity to experience the benefits of an enhanced outreached support from the Ana Liffey Drug Project. The support of all small businesses and people in the area in support of this new scheme was praised highly by Mr. Duffin in yesterday's Irish Times. The Outreach Programme and the extension of opening hours contributed to almost 50% of an increase of callers to the centre. That added to almost 13,500 visits by people with drug and mental problems.

The new staff started work at the beginning of this month. The service was also funded by the Department of Community Rural and Gaelteacht affairs (well done).

The Board Walk has been an issue for a long time now. Hopefully, this will provide guidance and practical assistance and lead to a clean up of the area.

Jack Russell

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