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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020
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Peter McVerry Trust plans 100 housing units in 2020 after meeting targets a year ahead of schedule

The charity said that while this “isn’t about targets, it’s about delivering more homes”, it was delighted to be ahead of schedule.

Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle
Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle
Image: Mark Stedman/Rollingnews.ie

THE HOUSING CHARITY Peter McVerry Trust has hit its strategic housing target 12 months ahead of schedule. 

Under its strategic plan announced in 2016, the charity said it wanted to double its housing units to 450 housing units by the end of 2020. 

Today, the Peter McVerry Trust said it has met that target already and has plans to add a minimum 100 more units in 2020. 

The housing has been delivered across the country, with a number in Dublin, Limerick and Louth.

CEO Pat Doyle said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to more than double our housing stock in 4 years and that we are now one year ahead of our plans. However, this isn’t about targets it’s really about delivering more homes for people in need as quickly as we can.

We are committed to the Housing First model and to ensuring that people can realise their right to housing. The only way we can deliver on both these fronts is to ensure we play our part in housing the most vulnerable, particularly single people, for whom housing is in shortest supply.

Housing First

Ireland first signalled a shift away from the traditional “staircase” model of addressing homelessness and towards a housing first approach in the 2011 Programme for Government.

The staircase model would involve a homeless person going through a number of steps (for example getting clean from drugs, completing courses, etc) before they were allowed transition to a house.

Housing First flipped this model on its head with a secure, safe, permanent home with support being the primary goal; and recovery, therapy or whatever else is needed coming after that.

Finland adopted a housing first programme in 2008 and has all but eliminated long-term homelessness there.

The housing first programme in Dublin is run by workers from the Peter McVerry trust and is financed by the Dublin Regional Housing Executive (DRHE).

After the pilot initiative in Dublin, it expanded to other areas of the country. 

Last November, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) issued a tender worth €16.4 million for Housing First.

In June, Kildare County Council issued a tender worth an estimated €702,000 for Housing First services over a three-year period.

And, in July, Westmeath County Council issued a three-year tender for the provision of Housing First services in the region. 

Homelessness

The charity’s further commitment comes as the housing and homelessness crisis remains a huge issue, with the latest figures showing that over 10,500 people in Ireland are homeless

Those figures were published on the same day that a no confidence motion was tabled against Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy, which was narrowly defeated by 56 to 53 votes.

The Residential Tenancies Board’s (RTB) latest quarterly index published yesterday showed an 8.2% increase in the average cost of rent compared to the same time last year.

In the report, the RTB said a “significant increase in the number of properties available for both sale and rent will be required in order to temper the rapid growth in rent prices”. 

It said that despite the number of housing completions increasing recently, the level of supply remains “significantly below the level” of structural demand. 

Peter McVerry Trust CEO Doyle said that while the news they’d met their targets was good news for those who’ve been housed, it would be necessary to “redouble” their efforts next year.

“We are putting more resources than ever into our housing development programme, not just in Dublin but right across the country from Dundalk to Tralee and Bray to Galway,” he said.

We have a plan to add at a minimum of 100 further units in 2020 and are working on a range of other opportunities that will see more empty buildings brought back to use, more town centre retail spaces converted to homes, more derelict buildings regenerated, and more new homes built for people who need them.

Doyle acknowledged the assistance from the Department of Housing, the Housing Agency and local authorities for funding most of the charity’s housing development work. He also thanked donors who’d assisted the charity.

The latest efforts from the Peter McVerry Trust have seen a planning application lodged for 12 apartments on Shaw Street in Dublin. The charity also has active projects in Dublin 2, Dublin 4, Dublin 6 and Dublin 8. 

With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald

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Sean Murray

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