Residents of Inchicore on an active building site in protective gear, hardhats alongside team who is delivering the project.

Circle VHA celebrates first direct construction project with groundbreaking event at Richmond Place


Monday 17th October 2022 – Today marks a special day as Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conway together with Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien and key stakeholders came together to launch The Housing Agency ‘Housing with Support’ toolkit and celebrate the groundbreaking for the first development under the scheme at Richmond Place, Inchicore, Dublin 8.

What is “Housing with Supports” (HwS)?

Housing with Support (HwS) is a new model of housing and care provision in Ireland. It is underpinned by age-appropriate housing and universal design principles including own-door living with onsite staff supports (non. medical), to allow people to live with dignity and independence for as long as possible and to continue to live in their community.

What collaborators are involved in the “Housing with Supports” (HwS) project?

Richmond Place is a successful partnership between approved housing body Circle VHA and ALONE, to design, build and deliver the first ‘Housing with Support’ scheme in Ireland, as part of the Government’s Demonstrator Project under Housing for All, jointly commissioned by Dublin City Council (who were delighted to transfer the land for Richmond Place to Circle VHA and thank DCC Councillors for approving the transfer), and the HSE
The ’Housing with Support’ model is intended to set a new standard for the future of housing provision for older people and to act as an exemplar for others to follow.

A word from our CEO John Hannigan

Circle’s first construction project, which will deliver 52 homes, due for completion in Q2 2024. For the over 55’s community, these are lifetime adaptable homes with communal space on the ground floor for socialising, green spaces, and comprising of 1 and a half bedrooms designed for a family member to stay to support their loved one, ensure adequate storage for aids and appliances to support the person remaining at home or to ensure a person can continue to engage in their leisure and hobby activities. Care support will be provided by Alone in line with the supports provided to the community, but as the carers will be onsite the needs of each individual can be continually assessed and care can be tailored to the needs in a timely manner.

“The team at Circle VHA are delighted with the opportunity to design, build and operate this unique development and to collaborate with Alone to bring together a range of services and supports for older people. As a prototype with the potential for national rollout, we would like to see and be in a position to deliver more of these projects across Ireland. This development is 100% grant funded by CAS (Capital Assistance Scheme) funding with a contribution from the HSE / Department of Health towards additional communal facilities for the residents. Although the construction of the development is fully funded, there is no form of funding model that is ideally suited to this type of scheme which makes it incredibly challenging to deliver more developments of this type. The current CAS funding model does not allow for specialist communal facilities within the development which are often needed for older people. Further to this, there is a serious challenge with the long-term funding of maintenance for the development as there is no existing mechanism to adequately cover all future costs of these such things. To overcome these gaps in funding, there is a need for a more specific funding model to be designed if there are to be more developments for people over 55 in our communities going forward. We look forward to completing the project with our contractors and partners and to welcoming the tenants into their new homes.”

CEO John Hannigan

The ‘Housing with Support’ project is a result of work carried out by the Dublin City Age Friendly Housing Working Group (HWG) to design an integrated housing scheme for older people that allows them to remain in their own homes as long as possible. ALONE is pioneering this new model to Ireland which incorporates universal design principles with technology solutions, to provide:

  • Age-appropriate designed homes in the right location
  • Independent living – lifetime adaptable homes with own front door.
  • ‘Person-centred’, ‘flexible’ supports through an ‘ablement’ and ‘re-ablement’ approach. Keeping, gaining, and re-gaining the skills and confidence to live independently.
  • 24/7 staff on site and care support during the day (non.medical) with individual support plans optimising their functional ability, delivering activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) for those who need it.
  • Community integration – support older people to establish and maintain links in their community, mitigating social isolation and placing an emphasis on health and well-being.
  • Support Coordination – coordination of supports and services for older people, such as but not limited to local services, health and medical, financial, social welfare and housing.

We also marked the launch of The Housing Agency ‘Housing with Support’ toolkit, with an aim to provide a guide for social housing providers interested in developing ‘Housing with Support’ projects for older people. The Toolkit outlines the key stages and steps to take when considering a ‘Housing with Support’ project from the initial concept, or idea, to the commissioning of an Approved Housing Body to design, planning, funding, and construction and will set the benchmark for the future of independent living for the over 55’s community in Ireland.