Dublin Simon Community Launch Recovery Programme for People Experiencing Homelessness


Simon stresses the need for more recovery services for people who are homeless.

Dublin Simon Community today (8th July) launched their Recovery Programme for people who are experiencing homelessness.

Speaking at the launch, Sam McGuinness from Dublin Simon Community highlighted the importance of addiction treatment services as the rapid rise in homelessness continues: “At a time when over 3,300 adults and children are experiencing homelessness in the Dublin region alone, and when emergency accommodation is becoming long term, services like these are vital to help people overcome homelessness. We are pleased to be launching our Recovery Programme today with seven members of our Recovery team now qualified as Community Reinforcement Approach Therapists. This means they are fully qualified to operate this client centred Recovery Programme. Our Health Snapshot report in 2014* showed that 43% of those surveyed who reported that they had had an alcohol problem at some stage in their lives had never received treatment. This highlighted the need for a new direction for our treatment services for people affected by homelessness.”

The Programme is part of a specialised Addiction Regional Supported Temporary Accommodation (STA) unit for people affected by homelessness. It is six months in duration and is focused on providing a supportive,  comprehensive programme at the early stages of Addiction Recovery.

Sam McGuinness continued: “Dublin Simon Community first established our addiction treatment services in 2003, with the support of the HSE, when we opened our alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation service for homeless people, the first of its kind in the country. Since then, our services have expanded to include Aftercare, Counselling and a Stabilisaton/Respite Unit for people with HIV.”

Sam McGuinness went on to stress the need for similar services to address the specific needs of people experiencing homelessness. “People become homeless for all kinds of reasons. Tragically, many have faced the damage and trauma of abuse, neglect, poverty or bereavement. More worrying is that the most vulnerable in our society are now joined by those who have faced job loss, rising rents, inadequate rent supplement, eviction or discrimination.

Addiction can play a devastating part, but often is a result of another issue rather than the cause. It is vital we address these root causes while helping people overcome their addiction.

“This new Recovery Programme is led by the client, and the approach adapted is depending on their own experiences, their family situation, their community and society. This represents the ethos that the Simon Community has operated by since our establishment in 1969. We continue to work with people most at risk and provide individual support, specific to that person’s needs, to enable them to move on from homelessness and secure a safe home of their own.

“The experiences of addiction and homelessness are deeply personal to people’s circumstances and we believe this Programme will provide the safe environment that people need. It gives our clients a secure base to develop hope, a sense of self, supportive relationships, empowerment, social inclusion, coping skills and meaning for their lives going forward. Establishment of these skills are vital to giving people the confidence they need to move on from homelessness.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State with special responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: “I am very proud to be here today to launch this new Recovery Programme. Dublin Simon Community have continued to work with those most at risk and do everything  they can to help them move out of homelessness. This Recovery Programme, together with the wraparound treatment services provided, will work hand in hand with clients, providing a safe, supportive environment to overcome their addiction and mental and physical issues, rebuild their lives and establish a home of their own in their community.”

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