New International Partnership Aims to Help Ireland’s Most Vulnerable Homeless Individuals

Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, has launched a new international partnership with Pathways Housing First Institute (USA). The charity believes the new partnership will result in a larger number of people with complex needs leaving homelessness and offer improved levels of tenancy sustainment for those that secure a new home.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “Peter McVerry Trust was an early adopter of the housing first model and has invested heavily in a housing first response to homelessness in recent times. The aim of this partnership is to ensure that as we continue to expand our housing first work that we do so in line with international best practice. That’s important because the quality of our work will ensure that we deliver the best possible outcome for people in homelessness.”
Mr Doyle said that the charity’s housing first work would focus on a number of key target groups. “Our plan is to increase the use of the housing first approach for rough sleepers, those who are long time shelter residents, young people exiting care and those exiting institutions such as prison and hospitals. Our goal is to upscale our housing first work not just in Dublin but in other regions such as Kildare and Limerick.”
“At the moment we have 25 housing first participants in Peter McVerry Trust’s programme and this sits alongside our Housing First regional project that we co-deliver on behalf of the DRHE and local authorities where we have created 167 tenancies to date.”
Speaking about the new agreement Dr Sam Tsemberis, Director of Pathways Housing First Institute said “The partnership will include accreditation, advice and monitoring to validate the fidelity of Peter McVerry Trust’s Housing First model in line with international best practice. Ultimately, the partnership will result in improved outcomes for vulnerable groups within homelessness and deliver a more effective response to homeless individuals and households.”
The new agreement will last for 3 years and include a monitoring and evaluation programme that will sit alongside a new Housing First research project in Ireland. Peter McVerry Trust will also roll out a series of Housing First events including national conferences and regional seminars.
Housing First
Housing First is a model of responding to homelessness that places priority on the housing aspect first which is supplemented by an intensive case management approach delivered via a multidisciplinary team.  This team is made up of addiction counsellors, mental health nurses, key workers, peer support workers, and psychologists. The multidisciplinary and intensive nature with the Housing First programme is unique and offers new tenants the best possible chance of maintaining their new home and staying out of homelessness for good.
It is the opposite of the staircase or treatment first model of delivering homeless services and has proven to be significantly more effective in tackling homelessness across numerous other international programmes.
The current Housing First regional project in Dublin currently has a 91% success rate and is delivered by Peter McVerry Trust in conjunction with Focus Ireland.
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