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Sophia housing association press release 150905.doc
Sophia Housing Association
September 15th, 2005
Who doesn’t have the right to a home?
Those on the fringes remain marginalised
89% of the public feel that the Govt is letting the homeless person down by failing to provide
enough housing and appropriate support services. That’s according to the results of a
startling new LMR Consumer Survey commissioned by Sophia Housing on foot of the launch of their transitional housing project in Donabate Dublin this coming Thursday by President of
Sophia is calling for the Government to come to its senses. “Until we as a society radical y
review both our attitude towards and treatment of people who are homeless, we cannot
realistical y address the crisis figure (5,000 homeless and in the region of 50,000 households
in the need of housing) of homeless in our country
,” according to Jean Quinn D.W. and Eamonn Martin who were speaking ahead of the launch of the Sophia Housing project in
However, in stark contrast the survey figures indicate 47% of the population believes that
homeless people chose to be that way and could in fact return to their homes if they real y
wanted to. Not surprisingly, the public’s perception that homelessness is in fact perceived as
houselesness was highlighted when 88% saw a homeless person as someone who slept rough or on the streets. Only 33% would definitely consider someone taking accommodation
in a hostel as being in fact homeless. Groups identified by the public as not being deserving
of support in trying to find or establish a home included those very much on the fringes of society. Up to 81% felt that groups such as drug addicts, ex prisoners, prostitutes fell into
This Thursday, September 15th 2005, President McAleese wil unveil Sophia’s latest project
undertaking with the official launch of the new transitional housing project, which is being
undertaken in conjunction with Fingal County Council. The project wil facilitate twenty
families, a nurturing place for children, training facilities, various counsel ing rooms and staff facilities. Sophia also provides a tenancy sustainment programme, consisting of 6 houses and
apartments being provided in conjunction with the Fingal Council throughout the Fingal area.
Sophia Housing is a unique collaboration of religious orders and lay people who are
supporting a new and innovative approach to housing for single people and families. Major
projects under development: Cork Street, Dublin 8 - Tallaght, Dublin 24 - Churchtown, Dublin
14 - Artane, Dublin 5 – Portlaoise – Cork - West of Ireland. Jean Quinn D.W. a pioneer of transitional housing in Ireland, has facilitated the col aboration
of Religious Orders together with various lay people with a wealth of experience to provide accommodation and holistic support for marginalised and vulnerable people.
Commenting on this visionary approach Sr. Jean Quinn says that the bringing together of the talents and gifts within the various Congregations and the collaboration with lay persons and
various bodies gives a unique opportunity to address the emerging and ever changing needs
The collaboration was in direct response to a growing need to provide integrated services for
the marginalised and included, of course, the provision of good, quality affordable housing for
those on low income. As services began to come on stream the intention was to provide a holistic way of looking at peoples marginalisation/homelessness and providing the necessary
supports to facilitate reintegration into the community, such as transitional and long term
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housing as well as child care support services. Sr. Jean is quick to highlight some of the
inequalities that led to this holistic approach being taken. “I wanted Sophia to try and alleviate the root causes of poverty – lack of education, housing
and childcare support. We want to simply empower people, women and men, to move from
dependency to self-sufficiency”.
Speaking in response to the survey findings Sr. Jean Quinn, founder and Director of Sophia Housing replied, “The struggle for social justice in this country
wil never end irrespective of the colour of someone’s skin, background or personal history.
The poverty we lie in is more than simply the poverty of economics. Ireland however, has the worst human poverty rate outside of the US in the developed world and 1:4 children in this
country live in poverty. Al people on the margins of Irish society deserve a better life and we
have an obligation to try and provide one’
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