MQI Annual Report 2016
The Merchants Quay Ireland Annual Review for 2016 was launched by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and highlighted the continued growth of homelessness and its impact on the drug crisis in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch, Tony Geoghegan, CEO of Merchants Quay Ireland said:
“The impact of the current unprecedented level of homelessness is most acutely felt at street level, where active drug users are being left behind as the government scramble to address the urgent needs of families. While we respect the need to prioritise families, and in particular children, we must not lose sight of the urgent needs of thousands of vulnerable single men and women, and in particular those with more complex needs, who are being pushed further down the housing queue.
The harsh reality of living on the street as an active drug user is that the possibility of engaging in treatment successfully, when you don’t know where you’re going to be sleeping day to day, is extremely remote. Against all odds, some people do successfully engage in and complete treatment. However, their efforts are hugely undermined in the current housing crisis, where access to stable accommodation is almost impossible.”
- The unprecedented levels of homelessness were clear to see in MQI, where 6,539 people used our homeless services in 2016. Almost 10,000 people nationwide with needs spanning addiction, mental health and homelessness came to MQI for help last year.
- MQI provided 117,398 meals for Ireland’s homeless and hungry over the course of 2016, an increase of almost 19% compared with 2015.
- Emergency shelter was provided in our Night Café for 2,022 people who would otherwise have slept on the streets. Running from 11pm to 7:30am every night, the Night Café opened in January 2015 as a temporary, emergency service and continues to cater for up to 70 people every night of the week.
- The physical and psychological impact of being homeless is most clearly seen in the rising demand for our primary healthcare services. MQI provided 7,649 healthcare interventions in 2016, an increase of 73% compared with 2015.
- Last year 2,519 individuals used MQI’s needle exchange service. 421 of these individuals were first-time presenters to the service. In total, there were 25,603 needle exchange visits in 2016.
- Providing pathways out of drug addiction is a key aspect of MQI’s work, and residential detoxification and drug-free rehabilitation programmes were in strong demand. There were 186 admissions across these services in 2016. Of the 114 people who completed rehabilitation programmes 47% were homeless.
In concluding remarks, Tony Geoghegan said:
“If the government is serious about addressing the homeless crisis, then it must increase investment in the vital services needed to move people out of rough sleeping and emergency accommodation and into recovery programmes and on to stable accommodation. At the end of the day, society isn’t just about money, it’s about people and people’s lives and ultimately addressing the drugs and homeless crisis is about saving lives. Most of all, investing in these areas is about reducing the misery associated with homelessness and drugs for the individual, for their families, their communities and for society as a whole.”
For more information, please contact:
Carol Casey – Head of Fundraising and Communications
T: 01 524 0139