L to R: Angela Moran and Ramona McAvenue, Leitrim County Council, Bartley Gavin, Sligo County Council, Trish Garland, HSE, and Dr Owen Mulligan, HSE, Mental Health Services.
On Tuesday, December 10, the HSE hosted a regional seminar which brought together, a range of Homeless Support Services from both the Government and Non-Government sector.
This is the first event of it's kind in this region and the theme for the Seminar was titled "Understanding the Landscape – Rethinking the Response''.
The seminar took place in the Glass House Hotel, Sligo and was attended by approximately 60 delegates; this included representatives from the Local Authorities, Social Inclusion, Mental Health, Primary Care and Addiction Services, Welfare Services, Homeless Hostels, as well as a vast range of Community based support services e.g. North West Simon, Focus Ireland, Sligo Social Services, Diversity Sligo, Sophia Housing, NW Employment Response.
The purpose of the seminar was to bring a range of services together, to share how they respond to meeting the housing and support needs of people that experience homelessness.
It provided an opportunity to share information between the various groups represented, and in particular, it considered the needs of those homeless populations that also experience a range of complex mental health and addiction issues.
It provided a timely opportunity to reflect and learn, about the service landscape and to stimulate the thinking on new or cooperative ways of working. Despite the numerous challenges that were shared, the hope is, that by engaging in effective partnership working, all services can contribute to providing better outcomes for homeless populations.
According to Trish Kane, HSE CHO1 Project Manager (Housing Coordination), who spoke at the event "Hosting an event such as this, is both welcome and timely, given the increasing challenges that all services experience, when trying to meet the needs of this population group''
In his opening address, Bartley Gavin of Sligo County Council outlined the challenges faced by Local Authorities in meeting housing needs of all population groups. He welcomed the "imminent roll out of 'Housing First' in this region which is a partnership project that will specifically support homeless populations, and in particular for those that also experience other complex issues such as mental health and addiction".
He noted however, that " providing the 'physical house' is just one piece of the puzzle, the intensive support that is required to support this homeless population to sustain and maintain their tenancy's, needs all service cooperation to be successful."
This Regional Seminar was funded by HSE Social Inclusion and supported by the CHO1 Service Reform Fund, Mental Health Services.
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