‘Housing First’ Strategy on Homelessness

Good Shepherd Cork operates a Housing First approach to homelessness.

In the past, those experiencing homelessness were expected to deal with the issues that contributed to their homelessness, such as mental illness or addictions, before they were housed.

With Housing First, the priority is to rapidly move people experiencing homelessness into appropriate housing with supports designed to meet their needs put in place. From a stable home base, they are better able to work on the issues that contributed to their homelessness and to engage with services and support workers.

We believe that with the correct supports the majority of women with complex needs will successfully sustain their tenancy and settle into their home and community.

Our model of support involves assessment of needs, care planning and key working. The women we work with have continued access to our Support and Advocacy service for as long as necessary once housed. They also have the option of engaging with a number of training and education options through our Education and Development project.

  1. Extend the number of Long Term Supported Housing units for single women, there are currently 14 units available.
  2. Secure three houses / apartments for families who have been unable to secure private rented accommodation
  3. Source four apartments for single clients who have a history of repeat admissions to Edel House (due to addiction and/or mental health issues)
  4. All of these accommodation options would be offered in conjunction with both individual and group support from Good Shepherd Services Ongoing Support and Advocacy Team for as long as is needed
  5. We would promote a “Solutions Focused Brief Therapy” (SFBT) approach to supporting people in their homes with other appropriate supports as required by the individual woman. SFBT focuses on Solutions not Problems and is a short term goal-focused approach.
  6. We would encourage every woman to undergo training in WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) and to use the tools of WRAP to maintain physical and mental health and promote wellbeing. WRAP focuses on developing a daily maintenance plan, identifying triggers and early warning signs of when things are breaking down so that timely action and support can be obtained.
  7. Good Shepherd Cork would work in partnership with both statutory and voluntary bodies to make these accommodation options a reality.

Homelessness should never define a person – it should only ever be a point in time in their lives.

Retention rates in housing first initiatives around the world have shown that in excess of 70% of people retain their homes where a full needs assessment is carried.