Eddie’s shot in the arm a boost for homeless

by Gazette Reporter
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A resident of a Dublin homeless shelter has spoken of his joy after receiving a one-shot Covid-19 vaccine as part of the HSE’s programme to reach vulnerable groups.

“This day means an awful lot to me. We are on our way, we are nearly there,” said Eddie Brennan (54), one of the residents of The Salvation Army’s York House facility who received the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.

“There’s a good feeling around the place. After the tough year that we had, we really deserve it. 

Eddie Brennan, a resident at The Salvation Army’s York House shelter, who has spoken of his joy after receiving the one-shot Johnson& Johnson vaccine as part of the HSE’s programme for Dublin’s homeless.
Pic: Marc O’Sullivan

“It’s nice to report a good homeless story for a change. The country is opening up and I want to be part of it.” 

The Salvation Army provides over 400 beds every night in Dublin, as well as a wide range of services to help people overcome the complex reasons for their homelessness, such as mental ill health, domestic violence, trauma or addiction.

The service is facilitating the HSE’s vaccination programme for Dublin’s homeless at another of its locations in the city centre. 

The clinic will provide vaccination for 700 medically vulnerable people living in homeless services over a two-week period. 

“It has been a tough year and Covid has affected a lot of our social and support activities,” said Eddie. 

“The staff at York House really tried hard to engage with people and keep us going during Covid, playing a game with one person, or going for a walk with another. You really appreciate the little things. 

“I am a resident in York House for the past eight months and this is the closest I have got to a home in the five years that I have been homeless.” 

York House operates 80 Supported Accommodation units for men over the age of 18. 

The Salvation Army continuously develops programmes which focus on life skills, meaningful activity, capacity to change and cultivation of physical and mental health.  

In 2020, 15 York House residents moved on to independent living. 

“This is a good day. It is a step closer to normal,” said Emeline Le Prince, Service Manager at York House. 

“Like most homeless services, our main challenge has been to ensure that residents continued to receive the appropriate level of care and support, while managing the restrictions and the risks to health and mental health posed by the pandemic. 

“We have been creative in our approach to supporting our residents, ensuring that their needs are met as best as possible. 

“Our meeting rooms with professionals became virtual, while the outdoors and the walks in the city became our venue of choice for our engagement with the residents.” 

Minister of State for Public Health and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, visited the vaccination centre and thanked the frontline workers of the Dublin Covid-19 Homeless Response Team, the HSE, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and voluntary service providers who worked throughout the pandemic with the group.

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