Integration celebrated in Gleann na hEorna estate – Respond Housing

On Thursday 29th March the residents of the Gleann na hEorna estate in Springfield Tallaght held an ‘Integration Day’ to prepare for Easter on the estate.

Gleann na hEorna has 147 social housing apartments for tenants of Respond Housing (112 units), South Dublin County Council, John of Gods, Cheeverstown and the Peter McVerry Trust. All organisations are members of an estate-wide Steering Committee to ensure cross-community cohesion and management of the development.

The children were delighted to have horticulturalist and educationalist Aoife Munn to help them in their spring planting.

There was a great turnout by residents of Gleann na hEorna to hear Lord Mayor Paul Gogarty congratulate them for their spring-clean and how to keep the estate litter free into the future.

The Lord Mayor then officiated at the planting of a Tree of Hope outside the Resource Centre. It was a solemn moment for all attending. The Tree is to commemorate those relatives and friends of residents who have lost their lives through suicide, to ensure we never forget them and also as a promise of new beginnings.

Cllr. Charlie O’Connor read a moving poem he wrote on remembering those we have lost and how they will always stay with us.

Hugh Hogan, Director of Housing for South Dublin County Council was in attendance and was thanked for the Council’s support of the Steering Committee and he pledged to continue the support for further planting activities on the estate.

Padraic Brennan, Eastern Regional Manager of Respond Housing thanked the Council, John of Gods and Cheeverstown for helping to organise the day.

“This day and this event has been led by the residents of Gleann na hEorna and this is as it should be. You all share this living space and the only way an estate like this can be properly managed is by everyone working together. Today at Easter time we remember those we have lost but we focus on the future and of hope. Easter is a time of new beginnings – new life, new growth. All the organisations and residents here will continue to work together to make sure that the future is bright for everyone who is lucky enough to live in such a vibrant community where we all support each other”.

Respond delighted to announce 12 new social homes in Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon

Respond Housing is pleased to announce our recent purchase of 12 houses in Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon. These are 12 x 3 bed houses who will soon be home to 12 families from the social housing list in Roscommon.

CEO of Respond Housing Declan Dunne said:

“We are delighted to be able to help make some inroads into the social housing list with our partners in Roscommon County Council. These 12 houses represent just over one fifth of the 55 households who have expressed a preference to live in Ballaghadereen.”

“While offers have been made to some families, Respond will be hosting a Viewing Day for people who have offers to live in the new houses and those who have been nominated by the local authority on the 26th of March. Thereafter, we will commence the pre-tenancy process.

“We expect that people will begin to move into the houses in early April.

“This will mean that 12 families comprising 36 individuals will soon have their ‘forever home’ in the area of their choice. Respond will also have a Resident Support Worker for all families working with them individually in their new tenancy and to ensure access to services to which they are entitled. It is projects like this all over Ireland that will help alleviate the housing and homelessness crisis.”

Note for Editors

Respond purchased the homes from Remcoll Capital under the Capital Assistance and Loan Facility (CALF) and Payment and Availability (PAA) from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government at a total cost of €1.29 million.

All new residents will have to be nominated by Roscommon County Council

Minister Daly launches Waterford Age Friendly Strategy at John’s College

On Friday 5th December, the Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Jim Daly TD officially launched the Waterford Age Friendly Alliance City and County Strategy 2017-2022 in John’s College. During the visit, Minister Daly viewed all of the information stands and talked to the residents of John’s College while touring the facilities on the campus.

The Minister also had time to drop in to Dermot Power and was highly impressed with the views of Waterford City from the apartment. Eleanor Gaffney and the John’s College Choir added some festive cheer to the occasion with a magnificent performance and nobody went home disappointed.

The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme is part of a worldwide, World Health Organisation inspired movement which embraces the challenges and opportunities that our ageing population presents by facilitating local authorities to take the lead on changing thinking about ageing, and how services are planned and delivered.

The Waterford Age Friendly City Programme started a number of years ago with Waterford City and Council as the Lead Agency. Over the last number of years, a multi-agency Alliance was formed with a number of Older People representing their peers as well as representatives from the relevant Statutory, Community and Voluntary agencies across Waterford City and County.

During the visit, Minister Daly viewed all of the information stands and talked to the residents of John’s College while touring the impressive facilities on the campus.

During his speech Minister Daly stated:

“The development of this strategy demonstrates how different organisations and agencies can work together in partnership to deliver something great for their community.  Multi-agency planning with public and stakeholder consultation is the most effective way we can deliver services and indeed solutions for our communities.”

According to Michael Walsh, Chairperson Waterford Age Alliance and Waterford City and County Council Chief Executive:

“With regard to the aging demographic in Waterford, both in urban and rural areas, it is seen as imperative for everyone to begin the planning process to future proof and age proof any and all developments and services provided to the public. It is with this in mind that the Waterford Age Friendly Alliance has worked to develop this five year strategy document which will be implemented with immediate effect”

The John’s College choir concluded proceedings and added some festive cheer to the air.

About the Age Friendly Ireland Programme

As in all other countries in the world, the population of Ireland is ageing. To plan for this, in 2013 the Department of Health published the National Positive Ageing Strategy. The Strategy sets out a vision for an age-friendly society through the achievement of four national goals (participation, health, security and research). It recognises that all sectors of society – government, businesses, voluntary groups, service providers, local authorities and the general public – have a part to play in creating an age-friendly society.

The Strategy allocates lead responsibility for its Priority Action Areas to various Government Departments and agencies.

Posted: December 2017

 

16 families including 69 children move into their new homes in Chanel in Dublin

Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD officially opened the new Respond social housing development in Chanel Manor, Coolock, Dublin 5. Chanel Manor is now home to 16 families with 103 individuals including 69 children in their new homes for life. All 16 families were previously on the social housing waiting list for Dublin City Council.

Minister Murphy said:

“I am delighted to be here today to open these wonderful homes. Providing homes is a permanent solution to housing families and I want to commend Respond for their hard work in developing these homes. I‘m glad that my Department could assist financially. Next year we will spend close to €2billion on social housing programmes and many more families will be removed from social housing waiting lists and housed nationwide. I wish all of the residents a merry Christmas and many years of happiness in their new homes.”

“I cannot tell you how thrilled I and my family are that we are now in our new home. The house is beautiful! We now have enough bedrooms for us all and I truly believe this is the lease of life we all needed. I and my five children had been in seriously overcrowded conditions for years before and this was affecting us all. Now the children are happy to have their friends come around and I feel this is our new hope – the hope that we can live now in the space that we need – and the hope, which I can see is already happening, that my children are happier and more confident about the rest of their lives.”

“Today is what Respond is all about – building homes and creating communities for those in severe housing need. The houses here are beautiful and of very high quality and only rightly so. Respond is committed to adding at least 2,500 more homes to its existing stock of 4,225 units in the course on the next few years

We know that the long-term answer to our housing and homelessness crisis lies in addressing the severe shortfall in social housing supply. Today is one small part of that overall answer. I would like to thank the Minister, the Department, Dublin City Council and Marlet construction for helping us provide the new homes today”.

Chanel Manor was built with loan finance from the Housing Finance Agency, a Capital Advance Lease Facility (CALF) and Payment and Availability Agreement from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Posted: 19th December 2017

Minister Zappone officially opens the Respond Family Hub in Tallaght

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. Katherine Zappone TD today officially opened the Respond Family Hub in Tallaght, Co. Dublin. The facility has capacity for 9 families where 7 families have their own apartments with 2 families sharing a kitchen in adjoining apartments. The Tallaght Family Hub has seen 9 families with 24 children move into homes of their own

Overall figures show that 50 families have moved into homes of their own from 5 Family Hubs in Dublin.

The average stay in for families in the Respond Family Hubs has been 7 months and 8 days – 9 months in Tallaght and 5.5 months in High Park.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD said:

“Respond Family Hubs are caring new model of accommodation which includes a range of wrap-around services to help families be in a better position to move to secure housing in the short term. I am happy to see that every family here has a key worker and support plans which are developed with every resident based on their own individual need.

This supported temporary accommodation is designed to be as close to a home as possible and to ensure that every child and adult leaves in a better position than when they arrived”.

CEO of Respond Housing Declan Dunne said:

“I am glad to report that 23 families including 47 children have moved out of our Family Hubs and into homes of their own. The overall figure of 50 families in Hubs supported by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive is a credible outcome from a new model first launched only 7 months ago. Together we can aim to continually improve the Family Hub model to ensure that all families who currently find themselves homeless have the homes they truly want, need and deserve as soon as possible.

Last year Respond delivered 135 new social homes and we have recently significantly ramped up our ambitions for social home delivery with 2,918 homes currently in our development pipeline. We know that the long-term solution to the current homelessness crisis is the building of social housing and we aim to play our part. We are committed to providing homes for life for those in housing need. Family Hubs are a short-term solution while we, with our partners, work on the long term solution.”

Vacant Site Levy increase welcome as Budget promises house building will increase

– Proof for all of us will be in numbers of keys handed over

Reacting to today’s Budget announcements by Finance Minister Paschal Donoghue, Respond Housing’s CEO Declan Dunne welcomed the increases in the Vacant Site Levy and other promised measures to increase housing supply.

“Hoarding of land by owners/developers is one of the main barriers for anyone trying to build housing in Ireland. Respond has argued that the Vacant Site Levy as it was originally designed was not keeping pace with increases in the price of land, particularly residentially zoned land in cities and towns. Today we are pleased that Minister Donoghue recognised this problem and is seeking to address it with a Vacant Site Levy that increases year-on-year if the land is not developed. Though land prices in some areas is increasing exponentially this is a clear signal to owners of vacant sites that they need to build on the much-needed land. It remains to be seen if the Levy can keep pace with land price increases but this is a good start.

Respond Housing also welcomes the increase in funding for homeless services by €18 million though this is a reflection unfortunately of the rising numbers of homeless families and individuals. We also welcome the increase in funding for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme, particularly in relation to the further rollout of HAP Place Finder to enable homeless families access secure accommodation.

“However, we know that Housing Assistance Payment is only a short-term solution to our homelessness crisis. It is only through a serious increase in social and affordable housing supply that we can truly tackle this crisis. I welcome the increase in ambition – from 47,000 to 50,000 social homes by 2021 – and the increase in funding. The challenge is to build at the scale the crisis requires. It is disappointing though that there was no mention in the Minister’s speech of a scheme for those who need help but whose income disqualifies them from social housing. Only though a mixture of tenure and incomes in our new development can we ensure true and lasting social integration.

“The proof of this Budget will be in actual house completions and new keys handed over in the coming years. Respond for our part will work with the Department and local authorities to build the social and affordable housing our country so dearly needs.”

LIT students wow Respond Housing with new design for homeless families

Recently in Limerick city, students of LIT Interior Design were presented with awards to acknowledge their excellent design work for the renovation of a playroom for homeless women and children.

The Suaimhneas project was opened by Respond Housing in Moyross in 2002 to combat the growing numbers of homeless women and children who were left with no alternative than living in B&Bs. Funded by the HSE and Limerick City and County Council, the Suaimhneas centre focuses on helping families with re-housing as well as support and resources to achieve independent living.

Beginning purely as a design competition, the collaboration between LIT and Respond grew to include local material suppliers that have generously donated the materials and in some cases the labour for the implementation of the new scheme. The community-spirited suppliers are Dulux Ireland, Forbo Ireland and the Galtee Group (Ballylanders).

Paul Hargaden, Regional Manager for Respond Housing:

This is an excellent example of real collaboration to the benefit of the local community.

We never dreamed that Niall and his students would go beyond the hopes of a simple design, to facilitate a whole redesign of the space. This will give a much needed boost to the service and the families living in Suaimhneas who are experiencing a difficult time in their lives.

Now the children will have a beautiful new play area and Dulux Ireland, Forbo Ireland and the Galtee Group are to be sincerely thanked for coming on board with materials and labour.

I would like to thank the students for their time and talent, Niall and all in Limerick Institute of Technology for seeking to contribute in a meaningful way and the fantastic companies who joined the team. It shows us that during this homelessness crisis if we all come together we can make a big difference.”

Pat Gill, Head of Department of the Built Environment at LIT:

“We are delighted to help the women and children in the Suaimhneas service and at the same time teach our students the application of design in the real world. Excellent design must have the end service-users in mind and this project is a great learning experience for our students.

Design and the built environment around us is also proven to be a major factor in terms of wellbeing and mental health. We all deserve good design and none moreso than the women and children of Limerick who have no home to call their own. We are happy, as always, to assist the good work of Respond in the Limerick area.”

Eoin Ryan, Managing Director at the Galtee Group:

“The Galtee Group are delighted to be associated with such a worthy cause in conjunction with Limerick Institute of Technology and Respond Housing. We have worked with LIT on a number of projects including the Carbright Homecare Facility and look forward to future collaboration.”

Noel Hogan, Area Sales Manager, Forbo Flooring Systems:

“Forbo Ireland Limited are delighted to be associated with such a worthy cause in conjunction with Limerick Institute of Technology (Interior design program )and Respond Housing Association.”

Paddy Barry, Sales Manager Southern Region, Dulux Paints Ireland Limited:

Represented by Mr Fergus O’Connor on the night, Area Representative with Dulux Paints.

“I know all the participants have contributed a tremendous amount of time and effort to bring such a worthwhile project to fruition. It again illustrates what can be achieved when people engage together with a positive and generous attitude.  On behalf of Dulux I would like to thank and congratulate the staff and students from LIT as well as the team from Respond on this great achievement.”

 

 

Minister Coveney launches new Family Hub model of accommodation

Today in Respond’s Dublin headquarters in Drumcondra, Minister Coveney officially opened the new High Park Family Hub.

Family Hubs are a caring new model of accommodation for families experiencing homelessness. They includes wrap-around services to help families be in a better position to move into their own homes in the short-term. Designed as a better alternative to commercial hotels and B&Bs, Respond will be rolling out this model in other locations in partnership with local authorities.

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government said:

“What this facility means is that we have a setting for families where they have a better chance to go about their daily lives with space to live and breathe, play facilities for your children, a place to sit and relax or watch television. To lead something like a normal life and not be stuck on your own in a hotel room, with no on-site supports or other facilities that are available to families living in the community in their own homes, with their own front doors.”

Declan Dunne, CEO of Respond said:

“We are pleased today to welcome the Minister and our partners to the launch our first Family Hub.

We opened our doors just before Christmas and already four families have found homes of their own with the help of our support workers. The model, even in these early stages, appears to be working.

“The Family Hub is our humanitarian response to address the needs of homeless families in Ireland today. Many of the families here need and now have proper facilities, especially for their children. Our 24-hour support services are tailored to the needs of individual families with key workers for every resident. This is interim accommodation – with the aim that families leave Respond in a better position than when they arrived and move into homes of their own.

“Respond will continue to ramp up our building and acquisition plans alongside our Family Hubs to fully play our part in fulfilling the ambitious targets in Rebuilding Ireland and help every family in Ireland have the home that they need, want and deserve”.

 

New social housing regeneration project in Cork city

Today in the Blackpool area of Cork city, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government Simon Coveney TD turned the sod on a reconstruction project which will see 10 new homes for older people provided in Dublin Street.

This marks the next phase of Respond’s regeneration work in this area of Cork which over the next 3 years will see 240 social housing units added to the complement in Cork.

Minister Coveney said:

“I’m delighted to be here today to turn the sod on this project to provide homes for the elderly being delivered by Respond. I’d like to acknowledge their great work to deliver homes with appropriate community-based supports for older people and I’m pleased that over €2m is being made available by my Department to fund this project. Approved Housing Bodies such as Respond are critical in meeting the ambitious social housing targets in Rebuilding Ireland – the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.”

Respond CEO Declan Dunne said:

“Respond has a long and proud history in this area of Cork city. Dublin Street is only the beginning of our next phase of regeneration in the area. Our highly-regarded 51 unit St Francis Gardens development in Blackpool already has a range of wrap-around supports for our older tenants including a Day Centre. Dublin Street residents when they move in will have access to these services so they will know they are never alone and there is always a helping hand.

We are delighted today to commence work on Dublin Street as the first of many projects we aim to develop in Cork City, at a total of 240 new social homes over the next 3 years. We look forward to working with Cork City Council to provide housing and other support services to people in most need. All of us in the housing sector have a duty to do the most we can to help provide the 47,000 new social houses Ireland needs as planned for in Rebuilding Ireland. Respond is willing and ready to play our part to tackle our homelessness crisis with housing solutions on the ground”

The Dublin Street project consists of 10 units (5 x 1 bed and 5 x 2 bed) at a project value of €2.15 million which will be funded through the Department of Housing’s Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS). The contractor is HG Construction and the estimated completion date is January 2018.

 Posted: 20th February 2017

 

Loneliness is a killer: Responding to social isolation through technology

On Friday 10th February at John’s College in Waterford City, UCC School of Applied Social Studies and Respond Housing examined innovative responses to one of the major social issues of the digital age.

Responding to Social Isolation through Technology” will hear from a range of experts and practitioners on methods to deal with loneliness.

Opening the conference Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation Mr. John Halligan T.D., highlighted that responding effectively to social isolation and loneliness poses challenges for governments, policy makers, service providers, our communities, and families.   We need effective responses across a broad range of areas, which will address not alone the quality of life issues, but also financial issues whereby people can be supported in their own homes and in their own communities.

Respond Chief Executive Officer Declan Dunne said:

Loneliness is a killer. This is no exaggeration. A 2010 review of over 140 studies found that the influence of social isolation on early mortality is comparable to well-established risk factors such as smoking and has a greater impact than factors such as obesity and physical obesity.

“We have to ensure our older relatives and friends do not become even more isolated in this new information age and in fact, learn to use and be comfortable with new technology which will enable them to stay in touch with their families and be involved in the national conversation. We in Respond commit use the learnings from today’s conference to start the journey to ensure our cohort of older residents have the skills and technology available to them to stay connected to the wider world.”

According to Professor Cathal O’Connell of the School of Applied Social Studies of University College Cork “this is an issue faced by many societies and its effects have been captured in a range of quality of life indicators across age, gender, income and ethnicity. While communications technology brings undoubted challenges and barriers, it can also be harnessed to innovate for new modes of interaction and social engagement between people and communities”, he said.

Note

The conference event is supported by funding from the New Foundations Scheme of the Irish Research Council. New Foundations promotes co-operation between Irish third level institutions and community and voluntary organisations with the intention of disseminating academic research and ensuring its impacts are of benefit to the wider community and society at large

*2010 review of 140 studies on social isolation and loneliness: Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. and Layton, J. (2010) ‘Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review’, PLoS Med, 7(7).