TRUST was founded in 1975, and this year we are 35 years working people who are homeless in Dublin.

TRUST is a non-political, non-denominational voluntary body set up in 1975 as a private charitable trust (Charity No.CHY7014) to provide medical and related services for people who are homeless. We work in premises provided at a nominal rent by the Iveagh Trust. Between 30 and 40 men and women call each morning, the majority of whom are sleeping out (age 18 to 85). We see new people daily and often have people calling who were housed – settled- and become homeless again.

Washing facilities are available and each month we give out in excess of 500 outfits of clothing to people who are homeless as part of our total health service. Members of the public, Rotary and church groups donate the clothes and shoes.

Developing a Sense of Self-Worth

We encourage and help people who come to us to avail of statutory services and to obtain their entitlements; to place a value on themselves; to develop a sense of self esteem and avoid dependence on private charity.

“When we first entered TRUST on the Monday at the beginning of the week Alice asked us if we could ever see ourselves homeless and straight away we answered “No”. But now after all we’ve experienced and seen I now realise there is only a very, very fine line between having a home and being homeless.

Homelessness is not just being houseless -it’s about not feeling wanted or belonging somewhere. Society has an awful opinion of homeless people as drunks, down and outs -whereas they are only human beings like the rest of us who just couldn’t keep up in the rat race.

We met some very well spoken people -teachers who couldn’t get jobs, doctors who couldn’t “make it”. They become so institutionalised that they will not move out of a hostel. Before, I would have been anxious or afraid to approach a homeless person on the street but now I know that they would be happy to have someone to talk to. I also never realised all the organisations and people who devote and have spent most of their life working with the homeless”

Extract from diary of student nurse on placement.

Helping to Create a Society where Everyone is Important

We see a major part of our work is in the field of advocacy or promoting more awareness of the outsiders amongst us, and the creation of this web site and our Transition Year Project and Essay Competition grew directly out of that commitment. We are a relatively small agency but through our work we have gained valuable insights and using our experience we try in different ways to bring that into the wider community and seek to effect change.

For example, we have been intensely involved in prison and psychiatric work since the beginning of Trust. In 1998, Trust Director Alice Leahy was invited to join the National Crime Forum.

Trust is on the Consultative Board of the Homeless Initiative and is involved in on-going training of specialist groups.

We make submissions in response to requests from government agencies and are involved in relevant research on the issues relating to homelessness. Trust feels that some agencies involved with people who are homeless may not respect everybody’s right to the confidential use and storage of information. Some people who are homeless feel pressurised to take part in research into homelessness in case they may lose their hostel bed or their entitlements.

Trust only participates in research when we believe the research design is sound, ethical and likely to provide useful information.

“I was most impressed by your service. The bright coloured walls and wooden floors were warm and welcoming, and mirrored the bright cheerful staff who welcomed me… I was particularly impressed by the pictures on the wall, which captured the sensitive nature of the people who use your service and speaks of a place where everyone is accepted just as they are. Those pictures tell me that every life is a work of art. I felt I was in a solid, comfortable place and ordinary enough to feel at home.”

Letter from Dr. Kieran McKeown,Social & Economic Research Consultant after a visit to TRUST