Focus Ireland Advice & Info services expands in Sligo town and county to help prevent people in housing difficulties from becoming homeless

The first four months of 2018 saw a 50% surge in demand for Focus Ireland Services locally as housing crisis deepens

Evidence of the impact of the national housing and homeless crisis on the people of Sligo comes with the news that Focus Ireland are set to expand their services across the county.

Focus Ireland is rolling out a full-time Advice and Information service within Sligo town and county to help prevent people with housing difficulties from becoming homeless.   Last year saw Focus Ireland mark ten years of challenging homelessness and changing lives in Sligo through its work providing services and housing in the county since 2007.

In the year prior to the milestone of a decade of service to the people of Sligo in 2017, the charity reported a 50% rise in the number of people using its services compared to 2016.  This trend has continued in the first four months of 2018, Focus Ireland Sligo has already helped 147 individuals compared to this time last year when 99 individuals used the service.

To help meet the rising needs and ensure help is there for people when they need it Focus Ireland is now running clinics in Sligo’s North Side Community Centre every Tuesday from 9.30-12.00.   Additional clinics are to commence in Ballymote and Tubbercurry before the end of the summer.

Roisin McLoughlin is the Project Worker assigned to the Advice and Information Service and she said that this has been made possible thanks to the support of those who support the work of Focus Ireland in the local area.

Roisin explained: “People are welcome to drop into these clinics or if you would like to book an appointment please contact 087 1718 375. There is a range of support to be offered to include support with housing applications, HAP applications, property searches and ensuring individuals understand their rights in relation to housing. ”

Sligo Manager Mary Jameson added: “As an organisation Focus Ireland is driven by the core belief that homelessness is wrong and we all work together to end this terrible social problem.  Focus Ireland’s strategy is really geared to ramp up prevention work as this is key to tackling the issue.  We are taking this approach right here in Sligo that prevention is better than cure and this is shown by the fact we will have a specially trained Project Worker on a full time basis providing Advice and Information to meet the increased demands on our services locally.”

“It is vital to us that the housing needs of the men, women and children of the Sligo town and county are met.  We want people to contact us for advice and information as if they do this it is helping prevent a housing difficulty from becoming a full scale crisis putting them at risk.”

She added: “This Information and Advocacy for those impacted by the housing and homeless crisis locally provides practical help with an emphasis on preventing people from falling into homelessness.  It also is really helping those already impacted to find long term housing solutions.”

“In the last couple of years we have seen unprecedented demands on our services locally with many complex queries, and our work locally is made possible thanks to our committed staff, and the support of the wider community across Sligo.”

The soaring cost of rent coupled with a shortage of supply in Sligo town and county is a major concern for Ms. Jameson.

She said: “Our frontline staff here in Sligo are regularly dealing with people who have become homeless from the rental sector as rents have been hiked up and they can’t afford them.  Focus Ireland works very well in partnership with Sligo County Council and many other bodies in the local area.  However, there really needs to be more action by at Government level to deliver more effective legislation to better protect tenants and keep them in their homes.”
For further information/interview please call Roughan Mac Namara Focus Ireland at 086 85 15 117

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