Launch of Annual Report 2014
Sophia Housing records increased demand for housing and intensive care support services in 2014
There is a difference between ‘Houselessness’ and ‘Homelessness’
Sophia Housing, the national homeless charity and housing association, launched its 2014 Annual Report today (09/012/2015) at its Wisdom Centre, 25 Cork Street in Dublin. The report details the accommodation and high level support services it provided to the most vulnerable families, children and single people that have been affected by homelessness across the country last year.
Sophia saw a big increase in the complexity of presenting needs and traumatic incidents resulting from the significant rise in homeless numbers seeking to access the limited accommodation available, and those with the most intense needs were prioritised.
Sophia provides 244 units of accommodation to 314 people, including 112 children, and supports 35 people in their own homes at its projects in Dublin City and County, Wicklow, Limerick, Cork City and Sligo.
Sophia, unlike other homeless agencies which provide short term interventions, provides an intensive care support service on a 24/7 basis along with high quality accommodation to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people, through its supported Housing First model.
Speaking about the report, Declan Dunne CEO of Sophia said, “ There is a difference between being ‘Houseless’ and being ‘Homeless’. Houseless people in hotels need accommodation, not homeless services.”
“Over half of those Sophia supports have a history of the care system. They have not benefited from the supportive normal family environment with its care and boundaries. The traditionally homeless will simply be back out on the streets in no time without the support and boundaries they need to learn to sustain their tenancies. The Sophia model is based on dignity and care with quality housing, not warehousing people in hostels.”
Sophia Housing Association works with people who, for any number of reasons, find themselves out of their own home, and works with individuals and families to help them acquire the skills to deal with everyday issues that may have caused them to be homeless in the first place.
Sophia makes positive changes in the lives of those who are most vulnerable and on the margins of society, by supporting them through the provision of various services and housing. Sophia offers a holistic, person-centred model of care which involves working with people at their own pace, using key-working and care planning to support them in their journey towards greater independence for themselves.
Remarks by Declan Dunne, CEO, Sophia, on the publication of Sophia’s Annual Report 2014:
The New Homeless
The new homeless need housing not homeless services. There are thousands of people who are “houseless” and are living in hotel accommodation. They are, by and large, the economically homeless. Their solution is a functioning and adequately supplied housing market. Most of these people in this situation display none of the needs of those who are traditionally homeless.
The Traditional Homeless
Sophia works with the most vulnerable people with dual diagnosis, those that the public understands as the “traditional” homeless. The traditional homeless people will not sustain their tenancies without adequate support and boundaries. They will simply back out on the streets in no time without the support and boundaries they need. The most vulnerable people who are homeless need a combination of a lot of support and effective boundaries.
Support for those who have not benefited from normal family support
Over half of those Sophia supports have a history of the care system. They have not benefited from the supportive normal family environment with its care and boundaries. As citizens we all have rights but also responsibilities. The Sophia model is to respect the dignity of every individual, giving great care and support but insisting on adherence to the normal behaviour and boundaries society demands of us all.
Quality housing and independent not warehousing people in hostels
The Sophia model is based on dignity and care with quality housing not warehousing people in hostels. Tenants pay rent, have utility bills in their own names and build up a credit rating they can bring with them when they leave. They are supported with budgeting, home and self-management, parenting and engaging with the services they need.
A quality support service delivered by graduates
Sophia employs 52 level 8 qualified graduates of social care, social work and psychology, many with Masters Qualifications. A holistic needs analysis leads to an agreed care plan and keyworking with very regular support sessions for tenants.