Vote for your Best Housing Story
It time to put your story in the headlines
This award celebrates contributions that have made a positive difference to the life of a tenant(s) or community. Each of the shortlisted nominations have expressed in their own words why they should win. Although the winner will be chosen by you through your public vote.
Ffrenchmullen House, Charlemont St: Dublin City Council in partnership with Túath Housing
Ffrenchmullen House on Charlemont Street is in one of Dublin’s oldest communities. The residents of the old flats, on Charlemont Street, finally moved into their new homes in 2017, more than 20 years after the regeneration of the complex was first proposed.
The Charlemont Street scheme is a public-private-partnership initiative completed by Dublin City Council. The entire regeneration development when completed will contain over 500 apartments with 79 of which are now completed and allocated to social housing residents. There will be shops, restaurants, a sports centre and about 20,000sqm of office space to be included in the scheme. Tuath manage the 79 social homes on behalf of Dublin City Council and 49 of the 79 social units were allocated back to families who lived in the old apartments.
This regeneration project is a unique opportunity in the heart of the city to create a high quality mixed use and mixed tenure neighbourhood. It has taken over 20 years to be delivered but with regular community consultation the existing tenants were kept informed and many of the tenants noted, upon move in, that they always felt it would happen.
This project is an outstanding example of how agencies including public, private and voluntary can work together to make an impact. Dublin City Council persevered because they believed they could make a difference and were committed to building a stronger, more resilient community, they recognised the complexity of developing the new while retaining the old; many tenants had moved out with the phasing of the demolition but with the aspiration to move back home. 35 flats including 80 people remained tenanted while the new build continued adjacent to them. This required the existing residents full support and by funding a Community Development Officer via the Charlemont Resource Centre the Council reaffirmed their commitment to fully inform and engage with residents. Tuath have been working with both parties to ensure that this essential relationship continues, to maintain the successful outcomes the Council have achieved. The impact has been immense for residents living in Charlemont.
The Community Centre/Resource Centre has been an integral part of this collaboration and has been built to provide community and sports facilities for residents living in fFrench Mullen House while also providing facilities for the local business community. Túath Housing, Dublin City Council and the Charlemont Resource Committee are working to make this a success.
This development will continue to evolve for the next two years; with the social residents rehoused the developer, McGarrell Reilly has taken possession of the final two block of flats and demolition is due to occur in the coming weeks. This project demonstrates how an asset in the form of a well-located site can bring in private finance to provide much needed new homes, office space and sports facilities where old corporation flats once stood.
Gerry Carberry: Oaklee Housing
Station Court is a residential development in Gorey, Co Wexford that contains a mix of houses, duplex apartments, and apartments. As a result of the economic downturn, the development was never unfinished and units remained vacant for a number of years. Following acquisition by NAMA and subsequent fit out of the unsold units, Oaklee led a collaborative approach that engaged the new property owner and Wexford County Council to identify and allocate 14 properties to applicants on the housing waiting list.
Oaklee Housing leased the units via NARPS on a 20-year lease which granted the association rights to sub-lease to tenants and charge a weekly differential rent based on the tenants’ income. A key objective was to house people with reduced mobility due to the close proximity of the development in the centre of Gorey where tenants can avail of key services.
Gerry Carberry, is a good case study that shows how someone with a complex medical background, requiring constant carer-support, has availed of this collaborative approach. Before accepted keys to a one-bedroom ground floor apartment under a 20-year lease, Gerry had been renting privately in the area and at the mercy of an unscrupulous landlord.
In January, Gerry accepted keys to a new one-bedroom ground floor apartment under a 20-year lease, giving him security of tenure and peace of mind, which enabled him to continue living within his community and with secure tenure.
Oaklee’s approach to Station Court was an innovative response to meeting acute housing and enabling multiple agencies and households to secure positive collective outcomes. It moved the organisation beyond the traditional role of a housing association. Prior to allocations being completed, the Oaklee team met with tenants to walk them through the change and understand their unique circumstances and ensure adequate support was available.
Gerry has said: “There’s a great sense of community here and we all look after one another. Station Court really is like a gift from heaven after everything I’ve been through. It is the perfect place for me and central to everything I needed.”
Jasmine Way Regeneration Scheme, Twinbrook: Radius Housing
Radius Housing completed an innovative project at Jasmine Way, Twinbrook, West Belfast constructing 31 new homes, 2 retail units and an office. Working alongside the local community and local business owners the Association identified a development opportunity which would address the significant housing demand in the area.
The Jasmine Way Regeneration Project is an example of Radius’s commitment to the wider social, economic and environmental benefits associated with its housing investment within established communities. Radius Housing a procured a social housing scheme of 22 units and submitted a planning application in the 2012-13 financial year. At that time, there were objections from local residents, 2 existing shop tenants, 1office tenant and local political representatives. The objections centered on the fact that the current shops would be obscured by the new housing and ultimately result in loss of trade and concerns over the increasing anti social behaviour that was currently an issue locally. This meant that the planners deferred making a decision on the scheme and the Association subsequently withdrew the application. To ensure the delivery of the proposed housing scheme in an area of high housing stress the Association identified a design solution which would address the significant housing demand whilst also facilitating the 3 existing businesses.
The development scheme has provided 30 new homes to suit a range of families and singles in an area of high housing stress. The Association has received positive feedback from the residents regarding the internal space within the dwellings and the outside garden space. The business unit owners who have been part of the community for decades have new premises located on the road frontage, which creates a more animated streetscape and a significant visual improvement locally. Radius’s construction programme was carried out in two phases to enable the businesses to remain trading until their new premises were available. Owners have given very positive feedback on their new premises and comment on a notable increase in passing trade as well as the retention of regular customers. The office unit created for Community Restorative Justice creates office surroundings which reflect the professional nature of the work undertaken by the organization- something which was previously missing in their old accommodation. The new office accommodation has also enabled CRJ to become registered as an Assessment Centre for Skills and Justice and they have been awarded a Silver award from ONUS recognizing that they are a safe place for victims of domestic violence. The location of the new homes, shops and office are helping to provide a focal point for people to meet, interact and enjoy a sense of community which turns any development into a great place to live and work which is the very ethos of our work at Radius.
Macs Newry: MACS supporting children & young people
Dairine a 20 year old care experienced young adult, came into care when she was 15 due to parental issues & risk taking behaviors. She came to MACS Newry when she was 18 years old. Before this, she experienced multiple moves due to her behavior which impacted on her sense of identity & feelings of security.
She has overcome significant obstacles to improve her housing outcome – she has successfully moved from MACS to accommodation of her own. This transition was huge for Dairine considering her fears and anxieties around not feeling secure and leaving what was her home for over 15 months. She has achieved change through personal dedication & a positive attitude. Dairine despite her struggles, has always laughed and tried to see things on the bright side of life- not dwelling on what has been, but instead, using these struggles as a motivator to change her future. Dairine has supported other young people in MACS Newry as a peer support and been a listening ear; a voice of reason; a good, loyal friend with an open door to all. Her commitment to supporting others hasn’t wavered since she left MACS. She is currently doing her OCN Level 2 in Youth Work and wants to return to MACS one day as a worker. She is committed and focused to achieve this outcome for herself.
Dairine has left a lasting impression on Staff in MACS – she said MACS made her feel secure and helped her build her sense of identity, which for a worker, is probably one of the most powerful statements a young person can say. Liz Stevenson (Head of Services in Southern Trust) when speaking about Dairine, said this: “Dairine is one of the most wonderful & talented young adults that I have ever had the privilege of working alongside. She is resilient, kind and caring. She is very insightful and has empathy & understanding. She has developed a maturity almost beyond her age and is a wonderful role model”.
NI Homeless Womens’ Football Team:
Street Soccer brought Northern Ireland's first homeless women's team to compete in the Homeless World Cup in Oslo in September 2017. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for some of our communities most vulnerable people. The project involved 4 months coaching preparation and support to help the players tackle the issues they faced and to have a better life. Being involved in this team has transformed the lives of the players.
This is a brilliant housing story which has shown great innovation and dedication to change the lives of some of our communities most hard to reach and excluded people.
Over the past 6 years Street Soccer NI has developed projects across Northern Ireland implementing a model which uses football as a hook to engage people who are homeless and then providing support in housing, employablity and the other needs of players. Using this model they have helped over 100 people to break out of homelessness and to maintain their own home.
In 2017 Street Soccer set the target of including homeless women in its projects. This involved tackling the significant barriers which this group face in terms of accessing sport, engaging in support, and ultimately accessing and maintaining housing. Alongside homelessness these people often suffer from mental health issues, addictions, lack of education, isolation, lack of structure, lack of healthy activity, low self esteem/confidence, and a lack of hope for the future.
Through personal dedication, and acting beyond the requirements of their role, the staff and volunteers of Street Soccer successfully overcame these barriers and developed the first women's project. this involved visiting all of the relevant services, developing promotional material, acquiring funding, developing new partnerships, and tailoring the model to make it accessible to women (for example working with IFA women coaches and having a female Support Worker at the project).
The pinnacle of this work has been the NI women's teams acceptance into the World Cup and the huge impact it has had on the players lives.
Work Choice: Choice Housing
Work choice is a new six month programme that was designed by Choice and Bryson FutureSkills to propel long-term unemployed tenants towards sustainable employment, further education or training by providing practical work based and accredited learning that are aligned with individual aspirations.
A central focus for Choice has been its drive to support people into real jobs and to build employment skills and experience. ‘Work Choice’ is grounded in the age-old truth that the best way to get a job is to be in one. The association recruited a number of previously unemployed tenants to work across its operations for a minimum of six months with a commitment to create longer-term opportunities both within the association and with like-minded employers.
The 26-week programme assigned roles within Choice based on the participants’ career interests and people took up posts in the Property Services, Services Centre, Finance and ICT departments. All participants will complete the full OCR level 1 Employability Skills training and will be paid a full-time salary during their involvement on the programme.
This is an innovative approach to supporting social mobility, employability and developing skills that build confidence among participants. Providing and managing homes remains the first duty of Choice but Work Choice shows how social businesses can assist residents to prosper.
Work Choice demonstrates that Landlords are ideally placed to support and foster aspiration among tenants and their families and to shift mind-sets and attitudes.
As a result of Work Choice eight people have received employment support, new qualifications, valuable workplace experience and the confidence to seek new opportunities. Three have already secured employment.
Darren Rapacci, one of the participants said:
“It has been a good experience working here at Choice because it’s given me the basis to learn new skills and up to date skills. Training was delivered in a way that you could understand what it was that they were teaching you and wanted you to do. When you went back to the helpdesk you could actually apply the lessons to a staff member who had an IT issue and if I couldn’t fix it myself, I could go to someone who was more experienced and had the knowledge. When I’ve needed help, the help has been there.”
“This has given me the ability to move forward and apply for more positive IT positions as I’ve now got an experience of being in the workplace that is different from what I had in the past. This placement at Choice has really been useful.”
Work Choice evidences how the benefits of Choice’s work extend beyond the point where bricks and mortar are laid and into individual lives and aspirations in a non-intrusive or judgemental way.