Charity launches video campaign to show one of the very human stories behind these figures as part of its urgent Christmas appeal

Focus Ireland announced today that it has supported over 14,000 people so far this year who are homeless or at risk of losing their home.  This is already 500 more people than the charity helped in the whole of last year.

The charity reported the new figures as it launched a new video called #MarksStory to highlight one of the human stories behind these figures.  The video is part of Focus Ireland’s ongoing work to raise understanding of homelessness as well as the charity’s drive to raise vital funds in the countdown to Christmas. Focus Ireland will also feature a number of other personal stories of people it has supported to escape from homelessness this year on its social media pages as part of its fundraising drive in the final two weeks to Christmas.

In the video issued today one young Cork man tells how he battled through serious addiction leading to becoming homeless and how he later turned his life around with the help of Focus Ireland. Mark Wright (28) told how he fell into drugs at only 12 years of age and his problems grew as he got deeper into drug use.

He said: “I got caught up in drugs at a very young age when I was 12 and gradually the drugs increased and I would have ended up homeless.  It is like been caught in the headlights.  Not knowing where you will sleep.”  He admitted: “Most nights I was going to sleep towards the end of my addiction hoping the drugs would kill me.”  You can watch the video and the full 3 min version here

He said: “In that situation I could not get clean. The only reason I got clean eventually was because of my children.” Mark explained how at this point he contacted Focus Ireland and got on the path to recovery and turning his life around.  He said: “When I went into Focus Ireland I was greeted by another human being.  He shook my hand.  There was a sense of belonging inside.  That he did consider me another person and he didn’t judge me on where I was after coming from.”

Focus Ireland Advocacy Manager Roughan Mac Namara said: “It is important to show that people can come back from addiction and from the lowest points in life once the support is there for them and they take the first steps.  The reality is a lot of people would write off someone like Mark and think he would never turn his life around.  His success shows what is possible and proves the positive impact of Focus Ireland’s work challenging homelessness.”

Mr. Mac Namara added: “When someone gets back on track in life it is such a great success for them but when they have children it is even more important. It means the kids will now be growing up with a father who is off drugs and looking to get working after he finishes college.”

Focus Ireland worked with Mark to support him and help with everything from his addiction issues through to money management and access to education.  Staff at the charity helped to get him signed up for a two year night college course in UCC to get a Diploma in Youth & Community work.  His Focus Ireland support worker helped him through his college with a weekly study session.

Mark said: “My Focus Ireland Case Worker kept me going. He said: “We have plans for you. Keep doing what you have to do.  Keep turning up. Keep working.”  I finished my first year last year and he was such amazing support.”

Focus Ireland continued to work with Mark to help secure accommodation now he was clean, settled and getting back on track in life.  He tells in the short video how Focus Ireland secured a home for him. He now plans to finish college and get a job.

He said: “I was nearly crying when I got the place. I can’t express how much it means to me. It’s not just my home it’s a home for my children.”    The young father said his life has done a complete 360 and he puts it down to the support of Focus Ireland and his children.  “I am more confident now. I am a brilliant father to my children.  I will be forever grateful to Focus Ireland for what they have given me – and to my children.  It means the world to me.  My future looks good now.”

Focus Ireland said it works in partnership with the State and local authorities nationwide to deliver services and housing but stressed that it has to raise at least 40% of its annual budget to enable the charity to meet the constantly rising needs.  The charity has helped over 14,000 people this year that are homeless or at risk & also provides over 820 homes nationwide.  People can donate to Focus Ireland’s urgent Christmas appeal at or by PH 1850 204 205

Meanwhile, Focus Ireland Cork Manager Ger Spillane said: “We are playing our part to support people in housing need and those who are homeless around the country. Our staff in Cork also work to help keep people in their homes and prevent them from becoming homeless through our tenancy support and settlement service.” Focus Ireland believes that homelessness is wrong.  The charity said that it works hard to tackle and prevent homelessness in Cork in partnership with Cork County Council, Cork City Council, Social Services and other bodies.

The charity maintains that the major change in recent years has been the fact that many families and individuals are now losing their homes – mostly private rented accommodation – and becoming homeless purely for economic reasons.  Focus Ireland maintains that the State must move from managing homelessness towards ending it in order to get to grips with the crisis.

Focus Ireland said that its advice and information services in Cork are working hard to support people who were homeless, or at risk of losing their accommodation. If people are in difficulties with their rent, mortgage or housing situation in Cork they should contact Focus Ireland at 021-4273646 or they can drop in to meet staff at the charity’s offices at 27 South Mall in the city.


Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara: 086 85 15 117 

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