‘Game changer’ as Limerick council to foot bill on tender to tackle homelessness

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Limerick council is set to spend an estimated €180,000 for the next three yearsin its ongoing bid to tackle the region’s worsening homelessness crisis

Limerick council is set to spend an estimated €180,000 for the next three yearsin its ongoing bid to tackle the region’s worsening homelessness crisis

LIMERICK CITY and County Council is set to spend an estimated €180,000 for the next three years on a one-to-one housing initiative in its ongoing bid to tackle the region’s worsening homelessness crisis.

The local authority commenced a public procurement process for the delivery of Housing First accommodation and “intensive” support services across the city and county over the next three years.

The tender is valued at €540,000 over a three-year period.

The Housing Initiative is a relatively new and progressive policy that has been benchmarked in Canada and Finland in recent years.

The scheme—already rolled out by Novas and Mid-West Simon Community in Limerick— prioritises housing for homeless clients on a one-to-one basis, with the provision of added supports over a long period of time.

A spokesperson for Limerick City and County Council said that it expects the programme to have a “significant impact” on the homelessness crisis over the next four years “as it is a complete game changer in terms of the one to one approach in non-congregated settings”.

He said that the policy has proven to meet the needs of a diversified group of other countries.

It has an initial target to provide 15 council-owned homes, with the provision of 15 additional houses through the successful contractor.

Separately, the council has a plan to make available a total of 1,364 homes through the purchase, leasing and construction of properties by 2021.

The Limerick Leader, however, did not receive a breakdown of how many properties in each of these three categories.

The spokesperson said that it has been “extremely fortunate in terms of not having an entrenched homeless rough sleeping population.  

“However,  we do have a significant emergency accommodation population with many who have been homeless for more than 24 months. With the cooperation of our statutory partners in the HSE and the dedicated work of AHBs (service providers) we feel that Housing First presents an opportunity to deal with long term entrenched homelessness, in an empowering positive step forward,” the spokesperson told this newspaper.