10 January 2022
By Mary Bermingham
Back in September 2020, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) announced its intention to transfer management of its homeless services to other charities with more expertise in the area
Today marked the formal handover of St Vincent’s Hotel and Deerpark House – both in Cork.
Depaul (Estd 1989 in the UK) is a leading provider of services for people experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness across both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Established in Ireland in 2002 Depaul now manages over 30 specialised accommodation and outreach services and has been at the forefront of providing additional homeless services throughout the ongoing pandemic. Depaul provides over 600-bed spaces per night and in 2020 supported over 3,500 people.
The landscape of running homeless accommodation in Ireland has changed over the last number of years. This includes changes to government policy to a focus on housing-led solutions. SVP is transferring the management of seven hostels to Depaul due to its high level of specialisation in service delivery specifically in relation to the changes in government policy and the broader landscape. Crucially, the move benefits those who use the services.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin attended today’s transfer of services at Deerpark House, which he opened in 2002, and said:
“This transfer demonstrates the responsibility, foresight and vision of two organisations coming together to have a positive impact on people facing homelessness.
Our Housing for All plan seeks to support our most vulnerable by significantly increasing the number of tenancies for those experiencing homelessness and who have more complex needs.
Yet the pathway to eradicating homelessness is bound up with the constructive contributions of organisations like Depaul and SVP, working together in a progressive and transformational manner to meet the ever-changing needs of people facing homelessness.
“Having originally opened this centre in 2002 as Minister for Health, I would like to commend and thank the staff and volunteers of the Society of St Vincent de Paul who have tirelessly worked over the years to support those affected by homelessness and housing insecurity.
I know this work will continue through their social housing projects, and through the 1200 local Conferences working across the island of Ireland. I look forward to seeing the invaluable work Depaul will do into the future for this community and others.”
Depaul CEO, David Carroll said,
“Depaul and SVP are values-driven organisations who always put the service user at the core of everything we do. Over the last 19 years, Depaul has grown in line both with the complex and changing demands of the homeless population, and the solutions outlined in Government Policy. The paramount consideration between both organisations is ensuring service continuity and the advancement of Housing led responses to homelessness in these regions.
“This has been an extensive process to ensure the smooth transition of service delivery always with the service user in mind. We would like to acknowledge the work of SVP in these services for many years which have helped so many people affected by homelessness. SVP staff and volunteers at these hostels have brought comfort to many and brought many others into a more settled environment.”
SVP National President Rose McGowan said,
“The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is proud of the services we have provided at Deerpark since it opened nineteen years ago. We know that Depaul will continue what we started and we wish them, the service team and service users the very best of luck in this next chapter.”