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Housing First

Peter McVerry Trust and Housing First

Peter McVerry Trust’s mission statement, below, sets out our commitment to the Housing First model as a means to tackle homelessness in Ireland. The charity has been working on the Housing First model since 2011 in Dublin and continues to seek ways to expand and improve the delivery of Housing First in Ireland.

In September 2018, the Government launched the Housing First National Implementation Plan for 2018-2021.  It details the rollout of Housing First in every county in Ireland and
sets annual targets for each local authority, which will help eliminate rough sleeping and long-term homelessness. Read more here

In late 2017, Peter McVerry Trust signed an international partnership with the Pathways Housing First Institute. The organisation is headed up by Dr Sam Tsemberis, the founder of the Housing First movement. The agreement will see Pathways Housing First offer accreditation, advice and monitoring to Peter McVerry Trust to validate our fidelity to the Housing First model. 

In February 2018 Peter McVerry Trust announced plans to double its Housing First work, expanding delivery of the model outside of Dublin to include counties Kildare and Limerick. The programme will expand from 25 to 60 participants, with new small-scale interventions in counties Limerick and Kildare. Read more about the new expanded programme here.

Peter McVerry Trust Mission Statement

Peter McVerry Trust is committed to reducing homelessness, the harm caused by substance misuse and social disadvantage. Peter McVerry Trust provides low-threshold entry services, primarily to younger people and vulnerable adults with complex needs, and offers pathways out of homelessness based on the principles of the Housing First model.

You can find out more about Peter McVerry Trust’s work on Housing First in the leaflet below.


What is Housing First?

The Pathway Housing First Model is a participant-centred approach that focuses on ending homelessness for people who have been homeless for many years or who are particularly vulnerable. It is based on two factors: providing both housing and intensive case management (Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) / Intensive Case Management model (ICM)) simultaneously.

Among the key principles of the model are:

Housing as a basic human right
Warmth, respect, and compassion
Commitment to the participant
Scattered site housing
Separation of housing and services issues/ requirements
Self-determination and choice
Recovery orientation
Harm reduction

Housing First participants will have ready, time-unlimited access to support and treatment services, for as long as the participant requires. Even if a tenancy fails, Housing First continues to support the individual to another tenancy and the support service continues to engage with the participant.

Does Housing First work?

Yes. In the USA housing first has been implemented for a much longer period than elsewhere. Research findings from the USA show that Housing First is particularly successful with long-term  homeless individuals that have a history mental health difficulties and drug/alcohol misuse.

Tenancy sustainment rates, the primary indicator for measuring the success of homeless housing policies, are much higher for Housing First initiatives than for treatment first initiatives further supporting a shift towards housing first.

In a four-year study in the USA, involving 255 homeless persons, those participating in housing first programmes had a tenancy sustainment rate of 75% whilst those engaging in treatment first programmes had a tenancy sustainment rate of 50%. In New York the Pathways to Housing organisation has housed over 600 individuals through the Housing First programme and has maintained a tenancy sustainment rate of 85%.

In Ireland, the joint Peter McVerry Trust Focus Ireland Housing First programme (see details below) has a 91% tenancy sustainment rate.

Dublin Housing First Demonstration Project (2011-2014)

The Dublin Housing First Demonstration Project began operating in April 2011 and concluded in September 2014. The project initially identified and targeted 23 long-term rough sleepers.

“This project seeks to provide self-contained, independent, scattered, community-based housing units for each participant, affording them equal rights to any tenant renting privately. There are no staff on-site. Support is provided through home visits by the Housing First Team which is an intensive case management team.”

The project is a collaborative effort between Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Stepping Stones, Peter McVerry Trust, Focus Ireland and Dublin Simon.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, was a Director of the Dublin Housing First Demonstration Project Ltd. Peter McVerry  Trust was actively engaged in service delivery by way of both direct  staffing provision and identified property allocation.

You can find out more about the project by visiting the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive’s website

Focus Ireland Peter McVerry Trust Housing First (2014- 2017)

Housing First Logo CenteredCYMK

In October 2014, Peter McVerry Trust together with Focus Ireland, won the contract to provide a Housing First Service on behalf of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.  This Housing First Service is provided throughout the Dublin region and includes Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire – Rathdown County Council.

As of October 2017, the project had created 134 tenancies.

Housing First Office:      

14a Eustace St, (opposite the Focus Ireland coffee shop), Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Office Telephone: 01 671 2555

Email: info@dublinhousingfirst.ie

Housing First Intake Team:

If you are sleeping rough and need accommodation and support or if you are interested in referring to Housing First

Telephone: 086 813 9015 from 9am – 11pm, 7 days a week until 11pm

Housing First Intensive Case Management (ICM) Team:

If you are already a Housing First tenant Telephone:    087-9343487    7 days a week, 24 hours


Further Information


Pathways Housing First 


FEANTSA – Housing First Hub



Further reading:

Ending Homelessness – A Housing Led Approach – Eoin O’Sullivan

Peer Review on Homelessness Policies in Dublin City – HABITACT