Irish charity Depaul supported 554 people to find a home and exit their services which is an increase of 40% compared to 2019 despite the challenges raised by the pandemic, according to their 2020 annual report.
CEO David Carroll told The Irish Catholic this week that the Government must reach its targets for social housing and prioritise the homeless in the new ‘Housing for All’ strategy to make a dent in the homelessness and housing crisis.
Mr Carroll said: “The publication of ‘Housing for All’, the new Government policy on housing, is a key development for us and we’ve given that a broad welcome. The areas we would particularly welcome would be the focus on single units from the social housing stock, the increased focus and emphasis on health and the health of homeless people and a particular emphasis on mental health.
“We feel that if that if those targets can be delivered, of 10,000 per year, that should make some difference in the amount of people who find themselves homeless and obviously we’re looking for the longer term housing options for people. But it does depend very much on how we deliver not only those social housing units but the wider targets of 33,000 units per year
He added: “I think we can all argue on whether enough money has actually been devoted to the amount of stock coming on board but I think if we can deliver the 33,000 units per year we’re hopeful that it will make a significant difference, if we take into consideration that we have 8,500 people in temporary accommodation at the moment, I think for it to make a real difference is that the 10,000 social housing units have to be focused towards those people who are currently in temporary accommodation otherwise we are going to face ongoing difficulties going forwards.”
Overall in 2020, 3,542 men, women and children were supported by Depaul and 410 families came through their services. The charity helped 554 people move on from services to find a suitable home, an increase of 40% on 2019, and 772 children facing homelessness were helped.
In total of 30 services were provided across the Island of Ireland in their five service areas: Prevention, families and young people, high support accommodation, health and rehabilitation and housing.
Depaul reconfigured its services in response to the pandemic, adding two stand-alone isolation units for those displaying Covid-19 symptoms as well as establishing three staffed shielding units in several Dublin city centre hotels, which provided an additional 240 shielding beds to the most medically vulnerable, out of a total stock of 355 beds in the city. Depaul managed and supported 67.6% of shielding bed capacity in Dublin during the pandemic.