MANAGEMENT at the Ennis homeless hostel say 2011 has been the busiest year since it opened almost three years ago with demand for places described as “overwhelming”.
The Hostel at Laurel Lodge on the Clare Road provides emergency accommodation and care for homeless men.
The-13 bed facility is operated by St Vincent de Paul with funding from Clare County Council and the Health Services Executive (HSE).
Speaking on Friday, Laurel Lodge Manager Patrick Cahill said there had been a 96 per cent occupancy rate at the hostel in 2011. “We are busy, this has been our busiest year. We’ve had a 96 per cent occupancy rate, which meant we were nearly full every night.”
Mr Cahill continued, “It got to a stage where we would ﬁx someone up with a ﬂat or a room somewhere, they would move out, and the next day the bed would be gone again.”
Mr Cahill said there had been “consistent” demand for places at Laurel Lodge throughout the year. “The demand is quite overwhelming,” he added.
Mr Cahill said the St Vincent de Paul have been amazed at the level generous support given to the hostel.
He explained, “The amount of support, not just ﬁnancial, but people just helping out, has been amazing. Honestly, people have been great.”
According to its 2012 budget report, Clare County Council provides ﬁnancial assistance to Laurel Lodge under Section 10 funding where 90 per cent is recouped. The council estimates that € 365,000 will be spent on homelessness services in 2012.
The report states, “The council also works in partnership with the HSE to deliver other homelessness services such as sourcing private rented ac- commodation, assisting with completion of rent supplement applications and seeking B&B accommodation. Approximately 700 applicants will have been assisted in 2011.”
The report continues, “A Regional Audit of Services to identify gaps in service provision to the homeless is now nearing completion. In 2012, regional and local actions plans will be developed to address the gaps identiﬁed in the audit. A Clare Homelessness Alliance, representative of bodies and agencies involved in the provision of services to the homeless, will be set up in early 2012 to assist this work.”