Damien House celebrates 10th anniversary with relaunch

DAMIEN HOUSE 10TH BIRTHDAY!. . . . Gerry Burns, manager, Damien House, Foyle Road, pictured with the Mayor, Councillor Alisha McCallion, local politicians, dignitaries and staff on Thursday afternoon, during their 10th anniversary celebrations. DER1515MC082
DAMIEN HOUSE 10TH BIRTHDAY!. . . . Gerry Burns, manager, Damien House, Foyle Road, pictured with the Mayor, Councillor Alisha McCallion, local politicians, dignitaries and staff on Thursday afternoon, during their 10th anniversary celebrations. DER1515MC082

A project delivering services to homeless people and those suffering addictions has been relaunched on its 10th anniversary.

Damien House, a project from First Housing Aid and Support Services, has been delivering services in the city for the last ten years and has helped over 1,000 people during this time.

A major refurbishment of the building has just been completed by Habinteg Housing Association and the Mayor, Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion attend the relaunch earlier this week.

The service now boasts 12 units of accommodation for people who find themselves in crisis due to alcohol addiction.

Damien House is a unique service because it provides a crisis response for homeless people and a home detox to help people who live in the community under one roof.

They are ideally suited to providing help to those people who have no support at home to detox and deal with their alcohol issues.

Damien House has forged a partnership with Woodlea House and have a detox nurse to offer services.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Western Health and Social Services trust help fund the project.

Over the years the project has worked tirelessly with other providers in the city to prevent rough sleeping.

This year they have worked with 120 people to help them tackle their addictions.

Eileen Best Director of Operations First Housing said, “We are delighted with the investment and refurbishment completed by Habinteg Housing Association.

“This will ensure that those who are homeless, in crisis and in need of accommodation, have the best possible experience of a home on their journey towards independence in the community.”

Gerry Burns, Manager of Damien House, said all of the staff are ‘delighted to have been working in the city for ten years helping those with chronic alcohol difficulties and homelessness’.

He said the team face challenging situations each day but are delighted to have reached such a bench mark.

‘To help 120 men in the city annually shows that the rough sleepers strategy is working’.

Mayor, Elisha McCallion said, ‘It is great to see the work of Damien House this afternoon - a project dedicated to the care of street drinkers and people sleeping rough in the North West which is now celebrating its 10th anniversary.’

SDLP Westminster election candidate, Mark Durkan, was also in attendance at the relaunch.

He paid tribute to the staff and volunteers from Damien House ‘who have devoted so much of their time and energy over ten years to help tackle alcohol-related homelessness in our city’.

Mr Durkan added: ‘It is great to see the new investment in the facilities and quality of living space in Damien House thanks to all the funding and provider partners.’