Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Today, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien T.D launched Sophia's 2019 Annual Report.
In 2019 Sophia supported 1034 people, this included 226 families and 510 children. This was the first time that Sophia has supported over 1,000 people in any one year. This is a 14% increase on the number of people supported by Sophia in 2018 and a 100% increase since 2016.
Since its foundation, by Sr Jean Quinn D.W in 1997, Sophia has been a different type of homeless charity. It has focussed on providing quality homes with supports for people who have experienced homelessness. It has not run shelters or homeless hubs what Sophia aims to provide is a home for life, not just a bed for the night. It’s holistic approach of proving wrap around supports to people who have multiple needs means that Sophia recognises the trauma people may have experienced.
This holistic approach to supporting people was recently described by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin as the ideal approach to the issue of homelessness when he visited their newest project in Cork City on Saturday;
“It is the Holistic approach of Sophia in terms of giving on going support though visits and understanding where the person has come from the difficulties and trauma the person may have been through in their lives and letting that person know that Sophia is there for them with professional and on-going support and this is in my view the ideal approach to the homeless issue”
Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Annual Report, Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said:
“The important work done by Sophia Housing with families experiencing homelessness is particularly impressive with over 500 children supported throughout the year”
The Minister praised the work of Sophia singling out their project in Donabate Co Dublin;
“As a TD in the area I know how valuable the service has been and how well it has worked, with crucial on site support for children in the nurturing centre. This solution focussed approach to taking the the problem of homelessness is absolutely to be applauded “
In 2019 the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage approved over €28m 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 and is administered through Local Authorities.
Commenting on Sophia’s collaborative approach Minister O'Brien noted that:
“The latest homeless report from October shows that the number of families access emergency accommodation is at its lowest level level, thankfully since June 2016. This is due in no small part to the effort of bodies like Sophia working collaboratively in partnership with Local Authorities”
Sophia's strategy and its core values remain focused on Providing Homes and Supporting People. Sophia emphasises the importance of providing safe, well maintained homes and services that are offered with compassion, emotional warmth and respect to the individuals, couples and families supported by the organisation.
Sophia is aware of the reality that many of the people that Sophia support have been effected by the experience of homelessness and are often traumatised by that experience. This trauma is compounded by poverty, exclusion, and neglect in its many forms.
To view the 2019 Annual Report click HERE
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien T.D addressing the Sophia 2019 Annual Report Launch