Housing First in Ireland
A Housing First Demonstration Project ran in Dublin from April 2011 until September 2014. This project initially identified and targeted 23 long-term rough sleepers. This pilot project was a collaborative effort between the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), Stepping Stone Accommodation, Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and Dublin Simon.
In 2013 in the Homelessness Policy Statement issued by the then Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD, was the first time a firm an explicit commitment was made to delivering a Housing First response to homelessness in Ireland.
In late 2014, the DRHE awarded Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust the contract to deliver in partnership the Housing First Regional Service in Dublin. This project was initially slated to run until 2017 with a target of 100 tenancies, however, it was extended by two years with an increased target of 300 tenancies. As of March 2019, the DRHE Housing First Regional Service, delivered in partnership by Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust, had created over 300 tenancies with a tenancy sustainment rate of 86.8%, this project ended in early summer 2019.
National Roll Out
In September 2017, Peter McVerry Trust proposed the creation of the post of National Director of Housing First to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, this was supported and in early 2018 the first National Director was appointed, Mr Bob Jordan. The purpose of the national director role was to drive a national implementation plan and a scaling up of Housing First across Ireland.
In September 2018, the National Housing First Implementation Plan was published by Minister Eoghan Murphy along with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris at one of Peter McVerry Trust’s social housing developments. This set out specific targets for each local authority to achieve by 2021. As a result, local authorities have now begun to increase their Housing First work.
In March 2019, Peter McVerry Trust was awarded the contract to deliver the Dublin Region Housing First Service on behalf of the DRHE and the four Dublin local authorities. This is the largest Housing First service in Ireland and follows on from our involvement in the previous contract which ran from 2014 -2019 in partnership with Focus Ireland.
It should be noted that Peter McVerry Trust and other homeless NGOs have been running and delivering their own self-funded Housing First work outside of State funds for the past number of years.