Offaly emergency accommodation sold to homeless agency
Two homeless agencies have announced a joint initiative, which will see Clonamore House Hotel, Tullamore developed as an enhanced center for the provision of supported accommodation for homeless people.
The facility, which has previously been used to supply emergency accommodation, has been purchased by Sophia, a provider of supported housing throughout the State, and will be managed by Midlands Simons Community.
Under the terms of the agreement, Midlands Simon Community will operate the centre, with a team of qualified social care workers providing support on a 24/7 basis. Following refurbishment, the facility will provide professional supports for up to 17 people.
The centre will provide support to those in need of bridging accommodation before securing long term accommodation. The premises had been operating as a privately run centre for a number of years but these services will be greatly enhanced by the range of supports provided by the team of Midlands Simon Community staff, according to a statement.
The initiative has been hailed as a milestone in the development of co-operation between Sophia Housing Association and Midlands Simon Community.
Sophia is a national housing agency chaired by Tullamore based Denis Doherty while Midlands Simons Community is chaired by Mark Cooney, Athlone. Chairperson of the Voluntary Board of Directors of Midlands Simon Community, Mark Cooney said: “This is an important initiative. Our aim is that those in Clonamore House Hotel will be supported as quickly as possible to secure permanent homes of their own. Based on our experience there is a major need for this type of service. Midlands Simon Community has a track record of providing safe, well-managed services and Clonamore House Hotel will meet the high standards which we have always upheld.”
Denis Doherty Chairperson, Sophia Housing Association said: “Sophia’s ethos is the provision of high-quality accommodation with appropriate support. In supporting people on their journey out of homelessness Sophia has always placed a strong emphasis on the creation of a caring environment. The partnership between Sophia and Midlands Simon Community is built on strong foundations, a legacy of compassion and care.”
Chief Executive Officer, Tony O’Riordan described the acquisition as “delivering a new future for Clonamore House Hotel and for homeless services in the Midlands.” He stated that “this is an exciting development and reflects the shared philosophy of the two organisations.
Since 2016 there has been a strategic approach to the sharing of a commitment to providing quality services so that people are supported to move from the instability of homelessness to the security of having a home of their own. Sophia and Midlands Simon Community share the belief that the provision of a home with support should be the goal of all homeless services."
Support of the Local Authorities and the HSE Mr O’Riordan added “This new initiative would not be possible without the support of a number of agencies including Offaly County Council, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, HSE and the Statutory Management Committee of the Midlands Regional Joint Consultative Homeless Forum”.
The initiative to acquire Clonamore House Hotel has the strong endorsement of the Statutory Management Committee of the Midlands Regional Joint Consultative Homeless Forum as they see it as meeting a major strategic objective; namely the attainment of financially sustainable homeless services in the region and to ensure all homelessness services are managed and delivered to the highest quality standards.
Offaly County Council has also issued a statement welcoming the acquisition.
They said they welcomed the "enhanced supports that Midlands Simon will provide to persons experiencing homelessness."
"Midlands Simon have been working in Offaly, Westmeath, Laois and Longford since 2003 and has built a reputation for being a provider of safe and quality focused services to people experiencing homelessness. Sophia Housing Association have a number of facilities across the country providing supportive living and assisting persons to transition to their own secure homes," the statement continued.
Offaly County Council has also welcomed the access to intensive and specialised support services that will be made available to residents.
"Working with Council’s HAP Place Finders the facility will support the various needs of individuals and help them in sustaining tenancies as they move to more permanent homes."