Deputy Joe Flaherty, Emma Keane, Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Peggy Nolan, Senator Micheál Carrigy, Emma Kiernan and Derek Turner PICTURE: SHELLEY CORCORAN
The recently launched government housing plan titled ‘Housing for all’ places a particular emphasis on addressing homelessness by supporting people not just to have a bed for the night, but a home of their own.
And, as those gathered at Longford Rugby Club for the launch of the Midlands Simon Community report on Housing with Support Service Longford heard, the local service has ensured that pathways exist for people to move from emergency accommodation to a permanent home.
The innovative service has been up and running for three years and, in that time, has supported 14 people to move out of homelessness.
The service, which was created with the support of Longford County Council, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the HSE took derelict apartments in the heart of Longford Town and refurbished them creating homes with support for people who had a history of homelessness.
The project has been a resounding success, with a 93% housing stability rate meaning that only one person supported in this service relapsed into homelessness. This stability rate far exceeds what would normally be expected in a similar service.
Chairman of the voluntary Board of Directors of Midlands Simon Community Mark Cooney explained that when then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the Victory Court service on Earl Street, he remarked that the model of service delivery was one that could be replicated in other parts of the country.
“In partnership with Longford County Council and the HSE, a service has been created in Longford that has supported people with multiple support needs and who had a history of repeat homelessness to have a permanent home of their own,” said Mr Cooney.
“The service recognises that people not only need a home but they also need support. The outcomes achieved in this service are above what is the norm in international best practice.
“In the Longford Housing with Support Service, there are many lessons to learn from and I would welcome further discussion with all stakeholders on how we can replicate this model throughout the region.”
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