The Dublin charity, Stepping Stone Accommodation, which provides housing to people at risk of homelessness, has announced that its operations are to be taken on by the national housing and homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust.
The agreement will see ‘Stepping Stone’s’ day-to-day work continue without interruption under the management of Peter McVerry Trust. The announcement was made following a 12 month process during which time Stepping Stone’s Board of Directors and management sought to identify and partner with an appropriate larger organisation to carry on its work.
Piers White, CEO of Stepping Stone said “As an organisation that was set up in 1972, we have made a huge contribution to the lives of people impacted by homelessness in Dublin. We have offered people affordable, high quality homes that helped people to get back on their feet and offered them the support they needed to move on to their independent, long term home. We are delighted work can continue under Peter McVerry Trust’s management”
Stepping Stone was originally established as House-A-Marriage (HAM) and had its first property in Phibsboro. Since then it has grown its social housing stock to 29 units. The 29 units will continue to be used to offer social housing and all tenants will receive the support of Peter McVerry Trust’s Housing with Support service
Continuing Mr White said “Stepping Stone is very proud to have built up a strong property portfolio with a market value in excess of €8m, which wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donors over the years Our goal was to ensure that those 29 properties were held for social housing and that they would continue to be used to meet the needs of people impacted by homelessness. We also believe that there are too many Approved Housing Bodies in the sector, and that greater efficiencies, synergies and impact can be achieved by partnering up with a larger organisation. We would strongly encourage other smaller AHBs to consider this route. Throughout this process Stepping Stone was keen to find the right organisation to partner with so that our ethos and values would be safeguarded. We are very confident that Peter McVerry Trust is that organisation and that is why we have made a decision for them to take on the operations of Stepping Stone.”
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “Firstly, I’d like to thank Stepping Stone’s Board of Directors and Management for choosing Peter McVerry Trust and to also recognise Stepping Stone’s fabulous work that they have undertaken over the last 46 years. Peter McVerry Trust is privileged to be chosen to carry on that work and that legacy. Just like Stepping Stone our goal has been to retain these 29 units for social housing and to ensure that the tenants now and in the future receive the supports they need.”
Mr Doyle also said that by taking on the property portfolio Peter McVerry Trust could use the units to deliver an even more ambitious social housing programme in the coming years. “Given the value and the unencumbered nature of most of the property in the Stepping Stone portfolio these units will help generate more social housing in the future as Peter McVerry Trust leverages the assets to finance new social housing projects that we may not have been able to secure without this partnership.”
Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy TD said “Peter McVerry Trust is one of the State’s key service delivery partners as we work to deliver solutions for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. I am confident that the important work started by the founders of Stepping Stone more than 40 years will be continued as they pass on these properties to the McVerry Trust. I would like to thank Stepping Stone for all of their efforts since 1972.”
Donal McManus, CEO of the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) the national federation of housing associations said “The ICSH welcome this new partnership between the Peter McVerry Trust and Stepping Stone, two organisations with a strong history. This initiative shows real leadership in contributing to rationalisation in the sector, making services to tenants more sustainable long-term, whilst enabling the Peter McVerry Trust to deliver an expanded social housing programme to vulnerable people.”