An Taoiseach Micheál Martin took time before Christmas to visit Sophia's newest housing with support project in Cork. An Taoiseach praised the work of Sophia in moving vulnerable families and individuals out of homelessness;
“Sophia is a charity that brings hope and security to people and families when they need it most, Sophia’s compassionate and holistic approach to homelessness has transformed lives for over 20 years.”
To mark the first Christmas in the new Cork complex Mr. Martin hung a house key on a Christmas tree, a symbol of hope at the close of a difficult year for so many families. In wishing residents a Happy Christmas Mr Martin also extended his wishes to all Sophia residents and staff throughout the country.
The visit to the new homes marks an extension of Sophia’s work in Cork City with Sophia now supporting over 100 people in Cork City and County at any one time. The Taoiseach commenting on the Hollies Project said:
“I’m delighted Cork City Council and the Department of Housing were able to provide over €1million in funding to help Sophia acquire permanent, quality homes here at The Hollies for families and individuals moving out of homelessness.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions attendance was strictly limited but thanks were extended on behalf of Chairman Denis Doherty and by Nora Marie O’Keeffe, Cork Manager for Sophia.
Ms O’Keeffe said: “This is an important day for Sophia. In visiting Sophia Cork An Taoiseach is reaching out to our residents, staff and supporters throughout the country. What we in Sophia do is support people who have been effected by poverty, exclusion and homelessness. The first thing we do is help people secure a home of their own and crucially with that home we provide the support so that people settle successfully out of homelessness.”
She added: “Our work in Cork would not be possible without our partnership with Cork City Council, the HSE and all the members of the Cork Homeless Action Team”
Ms O’Keeffe added: “We are a charity with a strong focus on individuals. Sophia has a relatively low profile but makes a big impact on the quality of life of the people and families we support”
In 2020 the Department of Housing, Heritage and Local Government and Cork City Council approved over €1,002,708 to allow Sophia to acquire houses which will be permanent homes for individuals and families moving out of homelessness. This funding is granted by the Department of Housing, Heritage, and Local Government’s Capital Assistance Scheme programme and is administered through the Cork City Council.
Welcoming Sophia’s new development Mr. Brian Geaney, Assistant Chief Executive on behalf of Cork City Council stated “Cork City Council is very pleased to collaborate with Sophia Housing to provide support to families experiencing homelessness. This impressive development is a credit to all involved and it will provide people with a fresh start in their own homes for the New Year. The Council is looking forward to continuing its relationship with Sophia in finding more solutions to address homelessness in the City”.
From L to R Lauren Comefrod Sophia, Brian Geaney, Assistant Chief Executive, Cork City Council. Shona O'Neil Sophia, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Nora Marie O'Keefe Project Manager Sophia Cork, and Michael McCarthy Board Member Sophia.