After 18-months of covid-19 related delays, construction is set to start on a €30 million plus medical facility in Dublin at Usher’s Island that will deliver 100 clinical beds to serve the specific health needs of the vulnerable homeless population in Dublin.
The Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage will fund the capital cost of the construction at Usher’s Island in Dublin 8 and the facility will be operated by Dublin Simon Community with operational funding from the HSE. The construction phase is expected to take 28 months to complete.
When completed the facility with deliver residential medical, treatment and recovery services to meet the complex healthcare needs of people experiencing homelessness in Dublin, including detox, rehabilitation, semi-acute medical procedures and blood borne virus stabilisation. In recent months these services have been moved temporarily to other locations in the city in order to decant the site for the construction phase.
Dublin Simon Community has delivered medical and treatment services at the Ushers Island location since 2002 in response to the growing need for designated healthcare for the homeless population. Analysis undertaken by the organisation in 2020 revealed 53% of emergency accommodation residents required mental health support, 90% of whom have additional physical health or addiction issues.
In 2019, the charity saw an 18% increase in demand for homeless healthcare services and provided access to treatment to 1,281 people. Dublin Simon also noted an overwhelming increase in waiting times for treatment, including 84% for detox, 24% for blood borne virus stabilisation and 55% for recovery services, indicating the urgent need for this 100-bed facility.
Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien visited the site this week to meet with representatives of Dublin Simon Community and the recently appointed construction team, Duggan Brothers.
CEO of Dublin Simon Community, Sam McGuinness, said:
“We are delighted to mark commencement of building on this much needed facility. It has been a challenge to get to this point and today is marks an important milestone in the lives of those who have come through our treatment services and those who have yet to come to our door. The medical needs of the homeless population are increasingly complex and the delivery of a service of this size and quality is a testament to our commitment to improve outcomes for this vulnerable cohort.”