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Busy days for Peter McVerry Trust

The Peter McVerry Trust has just launched a new-build block of eight apartments in Dublin, is set to deliver 38 new social housing units in Limerick, and according to its recently published Annual Report has worked with almost 8,000 people in the year 2020.

The national housing and homeless charity says it will begin on the major new housing project in the Moyross and Southill areas of Limerick City this May. The project, delivered in partnership with, and with the support of, Limerick City and County Council, is funded by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage under Rebuilding Ireland. It will be completed in December 2021.

A total of 38 brand new homes will be delivered as part of the project, of which 22 are two-bedroom homes and 16 are three-bedrooms. The new homes will be factory-built and assembled on-site and form part of the wider major regeneration and development of Moyross and Southill by Limerick City and County Council.

Pat Doyle, CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be delivering this hugely important project in Moyross and Southill in partnership with Limerick City and County Council. We have a long-established relationship with these communities even before we opened our first regional office in Limerick in 2016.”

The new homes being built are in keeping with the Trust’s specialisation of linking homes with urban regeneration. “As part of our ongoing supports and management of these new homes,” says Pat Doyle, “all the new tenants will receive ongoing supports from our local Housing with Supports team based in our Limerick office. All the people housed in these new homes will be coming from the local authority housing list and become tenants of Peter McVerry Trust.”

Meanwhile in Dublin, earlier this month the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD, launched the Trust’s Annual Report at the charity’s latest social housing scheme, a new-build block of eight apartments, at New Street South in Dublin 8.

The charity, which was founded by Fr Peter McVerry in 1983, is now active in 28 of the 31 Local Authority areas across Ireland and is playing a key role in the provision of social housing. The charity’s annual report reveals that Peter McVerry Trust worked with over 7,800 individuals in 2020, an increase of 26% on 2019.

Speaking at the launch Pat Doyle said: “Last year was an incredibly challenging one for everyone in society. As a result of Covid-19, Peter McVerry Trust faced numerous unforeseen challenges. Thankfully, our experience of responding quickly and effectively to emergency situations ensured we mobilised rapidly to put in place measures to protect vulnerable people across our services during the pandemic. We also adapted our service delivery to offer continued support to people in need.”

Peter McVerry SJ, the charity’s founder, added: “In a very challenging year our CEO and management team responded very effectively and with great flexibility. Our staff, most of whom are frontline workers, worked beyond the call of duty.”

In all, the charity worked with 2,994 people in services established directly as a result of Covid-19. The charity highlighted the multi-agency response which saw it working in collaboration with the HSE and DRHE, as well as supporting the Department of Justice where it worked with people in need of social care support and isolation under the International Protection and Accommodation System.

Pat Doyle also noted that in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic the charity had a very successful year in terms of housing development and also in progressing people into housing. Almost half of its social housing tenancies at the end of 2020 were Housing First tenancies.

“Last year was by far and away the best year we have experienced in terms of housing delivery and progressing people into housing,” he said, adding that ” Overall, we helped 1,300 people secure a new home and directly delivered 150 social housing units in 2020. This included housing right across the country in key areas such as Dublin and Kildare but also in new areas such as Cork, Galway, Kerry and Wexford.”

Pat Doyle said that the delivery of these new homes came about not just because of greater availability of apartments due to the collapse of the AirBnB type market, but because of greater success in tackling long-term vacant homes through schemes like the Repair and Leasing Scheme where the Trust worked to deliver the first two units under that scheme in Cork City last year.

The trust has continued to make use of the Capital Assistance Scheme funding from the Department of Housing to enable it to acquire more units for people with complex needs and vulnerable young people with a history of State care. Pat Doyle notes however that there were still challenges facing the organisation in the year ahead. “The ongoing challenge is the delivery of one-bedroom homes for single people impacted by homelessness and we are working on a variety of ways in which to secure these,” he concluded.