People with mental health difficulties can face a ‘vicious circle’ of housing instability

Specialist housing association Hail launches strategic plan in which it pledges to deliver 300 new homes over the next five years

People with mental health difficulties can face a “vicious circle” of housing instability as a result of their illness, a charity working in the sector has said. Hail, a specialist housing association for those with mental illness, said this cycle was why there was a need to provide both support and housing to these individuals.

Martina Smith, chief executive of Hail, said the housing crisis and homelessness could “exacerbate any issues you may have”.

“I think a lot of people that we would work with have come through homelessness or have not been able to maintain a home because of their mental health difficulties. It’s like a vicious circle. We really want to demonstrate is the impact having a home has on someone’s recovery. We see it on the ground that the support is vital in terms of maintaining the tenancy and preventing people going back into homelessness.”

Ms Smith was speaking in advance of the launch of Hail’s new strategic plan on Tuesday in which the organisation pledged to deliver 300 new homes over the next five years. The housing association currently provides over 450 homes, mainly in the Dublin area, and it plans to expand further nationally under its new strategic plan.


Ms Smith said having a stable and secure home was “essential” to support people with mental health recovery. “A key priority for us is to acquire more one-bedroom units as this tends to be most suitable form of accommodation for the people we support.”

In 2022 Hail provided mental health tenancy sustainment services to 589 people, the highest figure recorded by the housing association. During the same year Hail recorded a 99 per cent tenancy sustainment rate for its own tenants through these services and a 97 per cent tenancy sustainment rate for those living in non-Hail accommodation.

Julie Cruickshank, head of services at the organisation, said demand for its mental health tenancy sustainment services increased every year. “In order to meet this growing demand and maintain our current levels of service a sustainable funding framework is necessary. The work we do helps people with significant and enduring mental health difficulties maintain their tenancy and avoid homelessness or hospitalisation, which ultimately saves money for the State.”

She added: “We are calling on the Government to increase funding for our mental health tenancy sustainment services by €1 million to help ensure this vital service is adequately and sustainably funded, and that we can grow this service to others that need it.”

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Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times