It is wonderful to be part of a project that transforms people’s lives in this way – to witness the joy and pride people have in having their own home.”
Karen Feeney, Head of Client Services, Galway Simon Community, was speaking at the launch of the Evaluation Report of the ‘My Home Project’ - a Sláintecare Integration Funded partnership project between Mental Health Services, HSE Community Healthcare West and Galway Simon Community, working closely with Galway and Roscommon County Councils.
The project uses an integrated approach between services, with the housing and support needs and preferences of each individual person at its centre.
It works with individuals who are expressing a desire to move on to independent living. Referrals are taken directly from mental health teams, who continue to provide ongoing support to the individuals in the community in their new tenancies.
The project provides the person with a Mental Health Housing Support Worker to provide pre and post ‘move in’ support when they have been allocated a tenancy. It provides six to twelve months of post settlement support – however, this can be increased or decreased depending on the needs of each individual.
It commenced in East County Galway and County Roscommon in January 2020, working closely with Galway and Roscommon County Councils. The project lead is a Senior Mental Health Social Worker, employed as a Housing Coordinator for Mental Health. The Housing Coordinator works in partnership with a Galway Simon Service Manager who line manages the Mental Health Housing Support Workers. There are currently two full-time and one part-time Mental Health Housing Support Workers working in the project.
The project has to date supported 30 individuals, ranging in age from 28 to 74 years, and the direct transition of 17 service users who had lived from four to forty years in mental health residences to their own tenancies with the council or an AHB.
Six mental health service users transitioned to secure tenancies from either living with their parents to secure tenancies or from insecure to secure tenancies; and one service user transitioned from a nursing home to a secure tenancy. One service user returned to their own home from hostel, three service users were supported in existing tenancies that were at risk, and one was supported to transition from hospital to council housing.
“The results of the evaluation of the ‘My Home Project’ indicate that the provision of on-going mental health support, social care support and appropriate housing enables persons with mental health conditions to live independent lives in their communities in line with National Policy guidelines and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities,” explained Ann O’Kelly, researcher and report author.
Lorraine Kelly, Housing Coordinator in Mental Health, Community Healthcare West and My Home Project Lead, highlighted the benefits of the project.
“When health, social care and housing services work together in genuine partnership, with the quality of life of the individual accessing the service as our focus, we can better support people with mental health needs on their recovery journey. The Sláintecare ‘My Home Project’ helps people move from shared congregated residential services when they chose to live independently,” she said.