Mayor visits Foyle Haven Day Centre for a 'day in the life' experience
08 September 2020
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, has paid a visit to Foyle Haven Day Centre to get a first-hand experience of the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness.
The Mayor spent time shadowing a project worker at the Depaul managed community service which has recently reopened after being closed since March due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The service now caters for up to six people at any one time and support is provided in 2-hour slots. Prior to Covid-19 the day centre catered for up to 40 people per day.
"Homelessness remains a big problem in Derry and Strabane,” said Mayor Tierney. “I want to commend Depaul and their staff for continuing to support the most vulnerable during Covid-19.
“The closing of Foyle Day Centre has been a big blow to those who access the service every day however, I am heartened by the response of staff who have gone above and beyond to support people in their communities at this uncertain time.
"The experience has really opened my eyes to the problems faced by those experiencing homelessness in Derry and to the important work being carried out.
“We must continue to highlight the problems faced by those experiencing homelessness and find permanent solutions to end homelessness."
During restrictions Foyle Haven staff supported service users in the community through phone calls and video link-ins, home visits, preparation and distribution meals and collection of medicines.
Speaking on the Mayor's visit, Depaul Senior Services Manager for Northern Ireland Deirdre Canavan said:
"We were delighted to welcome the Mayor Tierney and appreciate him taking the time to get an experience of the work been done by Depaul to protect vulnerable people during Covid-19 and to really get an insight into the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness in Derry/L’Derry."
The charity added that it is helping almost 250 people on a daily basis through its community services in Northern Ireland, including over 90 children. In addition, the charity is supporting 29 families throughout the current Covid-19 crisis in its two family services in Belfast and a further 47 individuals in two separate accommodation based services.
· Depaul is a cross-border charity working in homelessness and homeless prevention.
· Depaul helped over 4,000 men, women and children in 2018.
· Depaul operates 30 services under five key pillars; Prevention, High Support Accommodation, Health and Rehabilitation, Families and Young People and Housing.