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Save Cedar House- Campaign to Save Homeless Services
Tuesday March 02, 2010 10:45 by Paula Geraghty mspgeraghty at yahoo dot ie
Over 30 people came out to protest outside Dublin City Council to keep Cedar House, a service for homeless people in Dublin open, on Monday, March 1st 2010.
Find the campaign on FaceBook
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the Homeless Services was set up to raise awareness and support for the protection of homeless services in Dublin. Cedar House is just one of the many emergency accommodation shelters due to be closed down in 2010. The closure of these vital shelters is supposed to mark the successful implementation of the Governments "The Way Home” strategy and the Homeless Agency's "Pathway to Home" strategy. While these strategies were developed with the best of intentions they do not go far enough to address the root causes of homelessness and they certainly do not provide sufficient guarantees that the vulnerable and marginalized people who use these services will be provided with consistent support. One of the key goals of the strategy is that by the end of 2010 "no homeless person will spend longer than six months in emergency accommodation".
"Pathway to Home" is based on a previous document called "Key to the Door". The strategies proposed in the Homeless Agency's "Pathway to Home", the implementation plans, the assessments of total needs, the suggestions for fulfillment of those needs are all based on 3 key ASSUMPTIONS.... one of which is "Blockages to an adequate supply of long-term housing are addressed". .
With approximately 60,000 people currently on housing waiting lists this is just farcical
Cedar House provides services for up to 50 men per night and up to 50 men and women per day.
We have not been given any information to date as to the plan for redeploying the services currently provided by Cedar House: emergency accommodation, counseling, methadone maintenance programmes, personal development programmes, educational programmes, doctor/nurse access, life skills programmes, key workers, day drop in centre providing shower facilities, clean clothing and bedding, food, etc.
If the decision makers go ahead with planned closures of these facilities without ensuring continued and consistent access to these services many people will regress dramatically in the struggle to improve upon their current lifestyle. The provision of appropriate long term accommodation is idealistic given the timeframes involved and access to support services would be limited at best for those people lucky enough to be accommodated. Without clear information or direction about the intentions of decision makers it is impossible for us to accept the closure.
The Homeless Persons Unit is another essential service being affected by this “strategy”. They currently provide a 'one-stop-shop' for homeless people including a free phone number operating 365 days a year 10am to 1am placing families and single people directly into emergency accommodation. They give advice and information on entitlements and rights. They also provide in-reach and out-reach services in shelters, hostels, B&B's, prisons and hospitals. The daytime service carries out an assessment of homelessness where individuals and families can have their immediate needs in terms of accommodation and income addressed in one visit. The HPU has 20+ years experience in dealing with the payment and placement of homeless men, women and children. In the same way that the Homeless Agency's strategy has led to a decision to close emergency accommodation this strategy now requires that the role of the HPU is reduced to a payment and information function only and ceasing their in-reach and out-reach clinics. The placement function of the HPU is being moved to the local authorities, such as Dublin City Council, who will essentially be responsible for placing people and households which they have themselves recently evicted!!! Not only is that a conflict of interest but it may make many people unwilling to engage with the services.
Contact them at email@example.com.
Motion to Dublin City Council meeting 1st March 2010
This Council condemns the proposed closure of Cedar House Homeless Hostel in accordance with the strategy of the Homeless Agency, “Pathway to Home”. We demand that this unit remains fully open and continues the provision of services to homeless people in our city until such time as alternative and adequate housing alternatives are put in place. An essential 20 bed dormitory is due for closure by 30th March 2010 and no adequate alternative has yet been identified and communicated. 30 individual rooms and all other services are due for cessation by 30th September 2010.
Proposed: Cllr Brid Smith, People Before Profit Alliance
Caption: Video of protest
Caption: Interview with Councillor Joan Collins