International Snapshot – Cork City Council

Our Head of Policy and Sector Development Paula O’Leary catches up with Ireland’s homelessness and housing sector leaders.

She met with Aileen O’Brien, Office Manager, Accommodation Placement Service, Homeless Section, Housing Directorate, Cork City Council.

Accommodation Placement Service

The Accommodation Placement Service managed by Cork City Council is responsible for the Homeless Persons Unit that provides a holistic focus on individual solutions and supports for those who find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness in Cork City. The Accommodation Placement Service has overall responsibility for the delivery of a central placement service and the provision, in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies, of emergency, transitional and long-term accommodation.

It operates under the South-West Regional Action Plan for homeless services sets out a multi-agency approach which is seen to be both practical and beneficial to those in need of the services. The Strategy outlines the plans for the five years to ensure that the level of services provided are adequate to meet the needs of the homeless in the South-West Region.

Rent Shortages

Aileen is very familiar with Shelter WA and indeed Western Australia having working in the Goldfields as a Operations Manager until 2019, for Aboriginal Community Housing organisation, Goldfields Indigenous Housing Organisation (GIHO) before she returned to Ireland.

Aileen said with the current rent shortages in both Ireland and Western Australia both countries are experiencing similar issues regarding supporting clients to attain housing in a very hot rental market however there are many fundamental differences with how housing and homelessness sectors operate in both jurisdictions.

“Working in the Goldfields did have its own set unique challenges most notably the geographical spread, as we covered almost 77,000 square kilometres from Tjuntjuntjara to Wiluna and beyond,” Aileen said.

“It was difficult at times to have the same on the ground measured response, compared with our current Housing First program here operating in Ireland. The alignment of Department of Health and Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage means that Housing First is very much a joint initiative. This program provides immediate access to permanent housing for people who have experienced long-term homelessness. Housing First allows individuals to gain the support they desperately need in a home of their own to begin with.”

Paula also visited The Housing Agency, Peter McVerry Trust, Dublin Region Homeless Executive and Dublin Simon Community during her trip.