Focus Ireland Launches Urgent Christmas Appeal As It Reports it Has Helped Nearly 300 Families To Escape Homelessness This Year
—One family a day is housed but at least 2 to 3 more become homeless the same day—
Focus Ireland launched an urgent Christmas appeal today with a hard-hitting campaign that highlights over 3000 children are homeless nationwide. The charity’s Life President Sr. Stan launched the campaign which appeals to people to donate to support Focus Ireland’s work challenging homelessness and changing lives.
Focus Ireland said that while the crisis is still deepening – with a record total of 8374 people now homeless – the situation would be much worse without the lifeline services and housing it provides.
Focus Ireland also issued new figures today which report it has supported 600 more people in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2016. The charity also announced that it has supported 290 families and 556 children to secure a home and escape homelessness so far this year. Focus Ireland said that the State supports some of its work but the charity also has to raise 40% (or €2 out of every €5) of what it costs to keep its services and housing running through donations & corportate support.
Sr. Stan said: “We work hard to support families and individuals every day and not just at Christmas but we depend on donations now more than ever to raise funds so our services can cope with the constantly rising demand. I am asking people to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal. Any donation will help us to directly support these families and also help fund our work to prevent other families and single people from becoming homeless in the first place. People can donate at focusireland-old.gdlindev.net or 1850204205.”
One family who were previously homeless and housed with the support of Focus Ireland took part in the launch today to appeal to people to support the charity. Sean Wade, Sarah Moran and their children Zoe (4), Summer (3) and Sean (1) were pictured with Sr. Stan at the launch. Sean works as a chef and his family were homeless for over 2 years when they lost their home in the private rented market. Sean said: “It was awful when we were homeless and stuck living in hotels with nowhere to even cook. A lot of the places are really unsuitable for children as they have public bars and nowhere safe for children to even play. The government should be doing a lot more on this terrible crisis.”
Sean said he is calling on people who can afford it to support Focus Ireland’s urgent appeal: “I don’t know where we’d be without Focus Ireland as the support they gave us was amazing and helped to keep us going when we were homeless. We don’t know ourselves now we have a home. We don’t feel institutionalized anymore and are free of the stigma that is placed on people when homeless. We are free now and I would encourage anyone in difficulties to contact Focus Ireland.”
Sean and Sarah said they are looking forward to spending Christmas at home with their children. He said: “For us as parents it’s so important to see the kids settle now and it will be a special time for us all at Christmas.”
Meanwhile, Sr. Stan spoke also passionately of the terrible impact being homeless has on children – and families – as she said: “It breaks my heart to know that some of these children have been born into homelessness. Some of them will spend their first Christmas stuck with their family forced to live in one little room together. This is awful and it makes me think back to what Christmas is about…how nobody would take in the baby Jesus and his family. I am sure this will strike a chord with everyone no matter what their beliefs are as these children today have also been turned away and left as homeless. They are our children too and we have a duty as a society to provide a safe home for them.”
The campaign features TV, radio and outdoor ads and runs over the coming weeks to Christmas. Focus Ireland launched the campaign in Dublin city centre with an admobile of its new poster which features a father and his child alongside the stark line: “Our children are homeless tonight.” Focus Ireland said that while the crisis is deepening the problem would be much worse again without the great work of its staff 365 days of the year. This work from Jan to Sept this year includes:
- Supporting 12,318 people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home from Jan to Sept compared to 11,744 in the same period last year.
- Providing over 820 homes nationwide.
- Helping 290 families out of homelessness from Jan to Sept 2017 compared to 230 in same period in 2016.
- Has served over 31,000 hot meals.
Focus Ireland stressed that every euro donated counts in the battle against homelessness as 89 cents of every euro received by the charity goes directly to services to support people who are homeless and those at risk. Focus Ireland said its new campaign aims to keep homelessness firmly on the public and political agenda in the countdown to Christmas.
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Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara 0868515117