News & Events
Since April 2017, Peter McVerry Trust has been delivering a project in partnership with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) to support people residing in Direct Provision centres who could not progress beyond that system due to the extremely challenging housing crisis.
These are individuals, couples and families who are homeless but not counted on official homeless statistics.
The project known as PATHs, is a three-year project that will run until March 2020. PATHs seeks to assist those granted status/leave to remain to exit Direct Provision in a timely manner by facilitating access to appropriate accommodation options.
It also includes the provision of comprehensive integration supports – education, employment, psychosocial, links to the community – throughout the transition process and beyond.
It is a joint initiative of JRS Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust and is part-funded by the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).
Initially, the project identified a cohort of 98 beneficiaries that would be part of the programme, which included 47 children. As the project progressed, a further 38 people were added following further assessment. This brought the overall total of potential beneficiaries to 136, however, 15 people which represented four families decided to disengage.
All project beneficiaries have been granted status/leave to remain – which entitles them to housing supports – but had on average been in the Direct Provision system for a further 2.4 years since securing that status. At present, there are over 500 households in the Direct Provision system with this status.
Fortunately, the project is currently ahead of targets after 15 months of operation. In year one, the target number of beneficiaries was 40 people. The project actually exceeded this by securing progressions for 45 people.
In 2018, the project seeks to target a further 55 beneficiaries. The early trend for the year is that this will be met, if not exceeded again. In 2019, the current plan is to secure homes for a further 55 people, meaning a total of 150 people will have exited Direct Provision with the support of Peter McVerry Trust.
Peter McVerry Trust and the JRS provide a comprehensive set of supports to people in the project in order for them to secure their own accommodation. This includes securing Homeless HAP, identifying potential rental properties, arranging viewings, attending viewings, assistance with enabling people to arrange viewings by supporting childcare and transport needs.
The process is delivered through an assertive case management approach and this has led to greater engagement and participation in the programme as it has progressed.
However, it is perhaps the access to Homeless HAP that has been the most transformative piece in securing housing. Peter McVerry Trust staff are continuing to work to secure Homeless HAP for a greater number of households and to intervene with South Dublin County Council, the preferred local authority for the main cohort, in order for the local authority to enable access to Homeless HAP.
It is also worth pointing out that a significant number of people have moved from outside the Dublin area to commuter towns and counties, encouraging others to consider this option.
While access to HAP has been a key part of the project it remains challenging to secure units given the current dysfunctional rental system and record high levels of rent and lack of affordable properties in the Dublin region.
*The above blog post was written by Francis Doherty, Head of Communications and based on a report delivered by Brian Friel, National Director of Services, at Peter McVerry Trust. His presentation as made at a JRS event on 22nd June 2018 in Dublin.