Cork and Limerick among three new live-in facilities planned for homeless veterans

There are plans to open additional live-in centres for homeless veterans in Galway and Louth by 2026

A military veterans’ charity is to establish three new live-in centres for homeless ex-service personnel and also plans to expand a pilot 24/7 mental health support hotline by opening it up to ex-forces families.

ONE (Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel) chief executive, Cormac Kirwin, said the three new residential centres for homeless veterans will be opened over the next 18 months in Cork, Limerick and Newbridge, Co Kildare.

The building in Cork will open at 92 Ballyhooly Road and will contain six ensuite bedrooms, offering accommodation to veterans who are currently sleeping rough in the city and county. The former commanding officer’s house at Sarsfield’s Barracks, Limerick, will be converted to a five-six bed live-in facility and will also house a drop-in veterans’ support centre.

In Kildare, the charity has identified a property in Newbridge which will have six beds and a support centre. There is no requirement for a support centre in the Cork building as ONE has already opened one in the city at another location.

It’s envisaged that the Cork facility will cost up to €1.4m, the Limerick one less than €1m, and the Newbridge centre in excess of €1.6m. The Government has ring-fenced money to pay for the bulk of these projects, but the ONE will have to provide one-tenth of their cost, which it will have to find from fundraising.

“We also intend to appoint our fifth Veterans’ Support Officer (VSO) who we expect will be placed in the Munster region,” Mr Kirwin said. It costs around €50,000 a year to employ a VSO.

Last year ONE set up what has proved to be a very successful 24/7 mental health support hotline. The call centre, which costs €25,000 per year to operate, is run on its behalf by Laya Spectrum and funded by the Leopardstown Park Hospital Trust.

**The ONE is also opening up its membership to serving Defence Forces members and will introduce a comprehensive ‘benefits programme’ that will be available to all.**

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ONE’s primary objective is to support the needs of Irish veterans by the provision of accommodation to homeless and other veterans in need of such domestic accommodation in its Veterans’ Homes and the provision of other advice and support to veterans, in particular Mental Health advice, through its nationwide network of Branches and Veterans’ Support Centres. Visit our website for more info.

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