Sophia, a national homeless housing and service provider, began celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by paying tribute to the role religious congregations have played in helping Ukrainian homeless people and refugees.
Sophia’s founder, Sr Jean Quinn, said she had helped hundreds of people, including families, to come out of homelessness, but “it could not have been achieved without the vision and the courage of the religious congregations”. They “wanted to continue their social justice mission through Sophia,” she said.
Religious congregations had also “been at the forefront of the response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis by making available the goods they had to house families fleeing the terror of war, and thanks to Sophia, they enabled hundreds of people out of homelessness,” she added. mentioned.
She is herself a member of the congregation of the Daughters of Wisdom.
Since its founding in 1997, Sophia has acted as an intermediary for religious congregations in the fight against homelessness by making their lands and goods available to the houses.
One example is one of Sophia’s upcoming projects in Portlaoise town center which will create 52 new homes there. The program involves the Housing Department, Laois Co Council, the local parish and the former Sacred Heart Secondary School of the Sisters of the Presentation there and surrounding lands.
The former convent, which is a protected structure, will be transformed into three one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom apartments. Three new apartment buildings will be constructed on site, which will include 23 two-bedroom apartments and 10 one-bedroom apartments as well as four two-bedroom townhouses.
Over the next three years, Sophia will grow by 60%, building hundreds of new homes across Ireland for 546 people, including 86 families with 172 children.
Sophia is one of the largest supported accommodation providers in Limerick. In Cork, it has opened new homes as well as providing supported accommodation in Clare, Kilkenny, Laois, Cork and Sligo.
In Dublin, he works with families who used to live in emergency accommodation, such as hotels and hubs, but now have homes built to meet their needs.
Sophia’s 24-hour service in Dublin was recognized in 2019 as an example of European best practice in the European-funded project, Dignity and Well-Being. In Dublin he also has a project on Seán McDermott St.
In Cork St and Donabate in County Dublin, it provides on-site childcare. Cork St also has an award-winning cafe for Sophia residents.
Across Ireland, Sophia owns or manages 365 homes and supports 1,034 people in their homes. It focuses exclusively on helping people get out of homelessness by having their own home. He doesn’t have hostels, shelters or family centers etc. because he believes the solution to homelessness is not to provide a bed for the night, but that people should have accommodation.