Minister opens Slí Nua housing service

Midlands Simon Community is delighted to announce the opening of its first ‘Housing with Support’ service, called Slí Nua, which was officially opened by Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Minister for Housing and Planning yesterday, Thursday.

The service will provide seven single people with self-contained accommodation in seven apartments located in Athlone. There will be a range of dedicated supports provided to ensure residents are able to maintain and sustain their tenancies.

The project provides people who had been living in hostel-type accommodation with a home of their own. Residents have regular and often daily contact with either a professional social care worker or a trained volunteer, and are supported in developing skills such as cooking, budgeting, paying rent and bills, maintaining accommodation, as well as health and life skills, confidence building, and integration with the community.

Speaking at the launch of the service Minister O’Sullivan said, “Great credit is due to both Midlands Simon Community and Athlone Town Council for successfully bringing this project to fruition. This development is of a very high quality, is much needed in Athlone, and will make a real difference in people’s lives.”

The project offers more intensive support than that provided by either emergency accommodation or the Regional Settlement Service.

Whereas the traditional model was one of supported housing where service users shared a home, each with their own room, Slí Nua gives each person their own home, privacy, and dignity. It is also more financially sustainable, and is delivering positive outcomes both for service users and stakeholders.

The service is an extension of the effective working relationship that exists between the HSE, Athlone Town Council, and Midlands Simon Community.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch, CEO of Midlands Simon, Tony O’Riordan, said, “Slí Nua is another example of the benefits of effective collaboration between the State agencies and the community and voluntary sector. The direction and support of the lead State agencies, most notably the local authorities and the HSE, is the main reason why homeless services in the Midlands have developed so significantly in recent years.”

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