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Housing First

Peter McVerry Trust and Housing First

Peter McVerry Trust is fully committed to a housing led/housing first approach to tackling homelessness in Ireland.

The charity provides a range of high quality, professional services through a ‘Housing with Support’ model, based on the principles of Housing First.  This model aims to provide a range of services to individuals to facilitate their journey into mainstream society, addressing their diverse range of needs along the way.

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


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 March 2017, the project has found tenancies for 72 persons.

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:    086 1737339       7 days a week, 24 hours

Further Information on Housing First Model

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

Key principles of this 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
(The above principles are outlined in the Pathways New York Housing First Manual 2010)

Housing First participants will have ready, time-unlimited access (for as long as the participant needs the support) to support and treatment services. 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.

The outreach service is a critical component of the Pathways to Home model, as the unitary service tasked with meeting the needs of and building relationships with people experiencing rough sleeping across the four Dublin local authority and HSE administrative areas.  The primary objective of Outreach is to assist rough sleepers to access accommodation with appropriate levels of support.


Further Information

What is Housing First?

Housing First is a model for tackling homelessness that originates with Dr Sam Tsemberis and the Pathways to Housing organisation in New York. The model has been widely used in the USA and has, in more recent years, been adopted by homeless agencies in Australia, Canada, EU and Japan.

The Housing First model focuses on the immediate provision of long term/permanent accommodation for the homeless with supports and services subsequently built around the needs of each individual.

The Housing First model differs significantly from the treatment first or staircase model. The staircase  model works on the basis that a homeless person must deal with issues that gave rise to their homelessness, or have arisen as a result of homelessness, (e.g. drug and alcohol misuse, mental health issues, etc) before they are ready for long term accommodation.

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 (entrenched) 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 4 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%.

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 entrenched 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, is 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

Further reading:

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

Peer Review on Homelessness Policies in Dublin City – HABITACT