Paula is 19. After a hard childhood and a period living in care, she became homeless at 18.
“I was terrified,” she remembers. “I cried and cried and cried. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I tried to find somewhere more long term to stay. But there was nothing I could afford.”
And while she was going through all of this she couldn’t even begin to try and fix her other problems. Having no work and no money, dealing with the abuse she suffered when she was younger. This all became part of the heavy load she had to carry with her as she struggled to survive. You can read her own personal letter here.
At Focus Ireland, we know the difference a home can make to someone in Paula’s situation. That’s why we developed the Housing First for Youth programme (click to read more), an innovative and effective housing programme which is already changing lives in several parts of the country. With the help of supporters, we want to roll it out nationwide.
Housing First for Youth (click to read more) is a simple and proven solution for youth homelessness. We give someone like Paula the keys to their own place first, with no strings attached. Then we help provide the support they need to get their life back on track — in the form of counselling, education, financial advice, addiction help and more.
Today the youth homelessness crisis in Ireland is getting worse. Since January last year there has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of young people with nowhere to call home. It is vital that we reach as many of them as we can.