Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, will publish its annual report for 2020 today in Dublin. The report will be launched by Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD, at the charity’s latest social housing scheme, a new build block of eight apartments, at New Street South in Dublin 8.
The charity, which was founded by Fr Peter McVerry in 1983, is now active in 28 of the 31 Local Authority areas across Ireland and is playing a key role in the provision of social housing. The charity’s annual report reveals that Peter McVerry Trust worked with over 7,800 individuals in 2020, an increase of 26% on 2019.
Pat Doyle, the charity’s CEO, said “Last year was an incredibly challenging one for everyone in society. As a result of Covid-19, Peter McVerry Trust faced numerous unforeseen challenges. Thankfully, our experience of responding quickly and effectively to emergency situations ensured we mobilised rapidly to put in place measures to protect vulnerable people across our services during the pandemic. We also adapted our service delivery to offer continued supports to people in need.”
Fr Peter McVerry, the charity’s founder, said “In a very challenging year our CEO and management team responded very effectively and with great flexibility. Our staff, most of whom are frontline workers, worked beyond the call of duty.”
In all, the charity worked with 2,994 people in services established directly as a result of Covid-19. The charity highlighted the multi-agency response which saw it working in collaboration with the HSE and DRHE, as well as supporting the Department of Justice where it worked with people in need of social care support and isolation under the International Protection and Accommodation System.
Mr Doyle said in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic the charity had a very successful year in terms of housing development and also in progressing people into housing. The charity noted that almost half of its social housing tenancies at the end of 2020 were Housing First tenancies.
“Last year was by far and away the best year we have experienced in terms of housing delivery and progressing people into housing. Overall, we helped 1,300 people secure a new home and directly delivered 150 social housing units in 2020. This included housing right across the country in key areas such as Dublin and Kildare but also in new areas such as Cork, Galway, Kerry and Wexford.”
“The delivery of these new homes came about not just because of greater availability of apartments due to the collapse of the AirBnB type market, but because of greater success in tackling long-term vacant homes through schemes like the Repair and Leasing Scheme where, for example, we worked to deliver the first two units under that scheme in Cork City last year.”
“We have also continued to make use of the Capital Assistance Scheme funding from the Department of Housing to enable us to acquire more units for Housing First, people with complex needs and vulnerable young people with a history of State care. The ongoing challenge is the delivery of one-bedroom homes for single people impacted by homelessness and we are working on a variety of ways in which to secure these.”