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Minister Simon Coveney launches Novas 2015 Annual Report

Minister Simon Coveney launches Novas 2015 Annual Report highlighting the significant rise in homelessness during the 12 month period.

Novas 2015 Annual Report, launched by Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney on Friday 09th December, reveals a startling rise in the number of people the organisation supported this year. More than 2,400 people accessed its services last year, this being an increase of 9% from the previous year and 150% in a six year period.  More than half of these people were from Limerick.

At the launch, which was held in Novas’ Brother Russell House in Limerick city, Michael Goulding Novas’ CEO, said that ‘the organisation’s response to the crisis was multi-faceted, creative and pro-active.’ He noted that during 2015 Novas ‘added to its long-term housing stock in Limerick and Kerry, extended capacity in McGarry House developed a New Housing First service and provided a range of innovative responses to the levels of overdose among the homeless population’. Minister Coveney complemented Novas on the range of pro-active developments throughout the year and said he admired Novas’ commitment ‘to finding lasting solutions to homelessness’ and pointed out that supporting homeless people was not just about providing housing, but also about ‘support regarding recovery, health and addiction’

Despite the significant number of people supported and the extension and development of existing and new services, Novas was unable to offer a service to 65% of those  who were referred, as demand continually exceeded capacity throughout the year. Goulding said that while he was ‘heartened by the organisation’s response to the crisis, there was still much to do’. He said that ‘increasing supply of housing and recognising the complex issues faced by homeless people were integral to providing long-term solutions to the crisis’ and that Novas was committed to increasing their housing stock while also providing ‘holistic support to clients around Housing, Health and Recovery.’

During 2015, the organisation established a Peer Overdose Education Programme – Topple. This programme was designed to empower clients to recognise the signs of overdose, respond in the event of overdose and provide support in the event of non-fatal overdoses. Five clients graduated from the TOPPLE programme at the Graduate Entry Medical School, UL, earlier this year.

Minister Coveney spoke about the broad-ranging services provided by Novas in Limerick and throughout the country and spoke of his privilege to be invited to launch its annual report. He highlighted the ‘deep-rooted commitment of 200 staff and 100 volunteers’ in the organisation to supporting homeless clients and personally thanked them for their endeavours.

The event was also attended by local councillors including Cllr. Elenora Hogan, Cllr. John Loftus, Cllr. Seam Lynch and Cllr. Malachy McCreesh. T.D Jan O’Sullivan and

T.D. Maurice Quinlivan was also in attendance.

Novas 2015 Annual Report

To find out more about Novas click here

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.