The key role of prevention has long been recognised. But only came into Focus with the ‘value for money review’ of 2009, which argued that we had become very good at ‘managing’ homelessness – and needed to move on to tackle it. There is no way we can end-long term homelessness unless we radically reduce the inflow into homelessless It is worth noting that measures to prevent people becoming homeless or returning to homelessness are also central components of the government’s national strategy and the Dublin Homeless Regional Executive’s Pathway to Home Model Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government (2008) The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008-2013
The last ten years have seen a range of homeless prevention initiatives across the world many of them well researched and evaluated. Several of the evaluators of these programmes spoke at the Focus Ireland conference on Preventing Homelessness earlier this year, which was attended by the Mayor. The US programme is funded is part of the Obama ‘stimulus package’ and seeks to intervene at the most cost effective time in the pathway into homelessness – as ‘close to the shelter door’ as Denis Culhane has expressed it. This approach is well captured by the ‘prevention and rapid re-housing’ title and seeks to prevent people from becoming entrenched by prolonged exposure to the shelter system. There are several lessons from the German system, but perhaps the two that came out strongest at our conference are (i) that is possible to deliver an effective homeless prevention programme during an economic downturn and (ii) may of the social services which are required to prevent homelessness are not really to do with homelessness at all. The major study of the English initiative, , started under the Blair Government, and headed up by Hal Pawson is full of lessons. This initiative was based on giving a legal right to housing to certain priority groups, and placed local authorities in a central role in the initiative. The Edinburgh case, took a different approach and the City Council subcontracted the homeless prevention project to the Cyrenians.
Presentation to fingal conference281112
Focus IrelandPrevention & Tenancy Sustainment Services Fingal County Council Seminar 28th November 2012 Catherine Maher
Overview• Context for Prevention• Focus Ireland’s Prevention work today• What Focus Ireland is planning• The Next Steps
Shift to prevention: Policy Context– National Homeless Prevention Strategy 2002– Homeless Agency Pillinger Report 2005– National Strategy (2008): A Way Home: - Prevention being the first of 6 strategic priorities– Dublin Strategy ‘A key to a home’ (2007): - Prevention being the first of 3 strategic priorities– Evaluations of Homeless Services (2008)
Shift to Prevention: International Context• Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Strategy – USA• ‘Turning off the Tap on Homelessness’ – Australia• Germany• England/Wales (Pawson 2007)• Scotland - Cyrenian’s Edinburgh
Focus Ireland: shift to prevention• Focus Ireland’s new strategy (2011-2016) sets out five key objectives that will drive the work we do over the next 5 years.• The fundamental objective, and from which the other objectives naturally follow, is• the determination to shift the strategic emphasis of the work we do towards preventing homelessness.
Where Focus Ireland is delivering Prevention Services• Dublin City & • Wexford County County • Kilkenny County• Kildare County • Sligo Town &• Cork City County• Waterford City & • Limerick City & County County
Our Prevention & Sustainment Services• Advice & Information – and Advocacy• Aftercare services• SLI (partnership with Peter McVerry Trust)• Prevention & Tenancy Sustainment• Community Sustainment Projects•Long-Term Supported Housing•Prison In Reach•Mental Health Housing Projects
From Support to Prevention Example 1 Current FutureCoolmine Detox Programme Coolmine Detox ProgrammePresent to Central Placement Focus Ireland NFCM engage Service during programme to assess housing & support needsReferred to Private Emergency Focus Ireland identify appropriate Homeless Accommodation housingFocus Ireland NFCM engage Focus Ireland supports family and support family move-on transition to long-term housing to long-term housing & independent living
From Support to Prevention Example 2 Current FutureIndividual with mental health issues Individual with mental health issuesliving with their parents/guardian living with their parents/guardianParents/guardian unable to Focus Ireland outreach engagecope/die with individual in their homeCrisis - individual moved to group Builds individual’s capacityhome or becomes homeless Supports individual’s transition toFocus Ireland homeless support independent living at appropriateservices become engaged time and setting
Next Steps• Requires a shift in thinking and culture at all levels• Change culture from ‘managing homelessness’ to preventing homelessness• Other social services need to adopt a preventative approach• Section 10 funding – away from emergency accommodation. Legislative change.• Potential role for Social Impact Bonds/Investments
Challenges• Prevention must not become ‘preventing access to Homeless Services’• Prevention Services must remain close to the Homelessness• Outcomes for Prevention Services must be substantiated and evaluated