FOCUS IRELAND MAKES URGENT CHRISTMAS APPEAL FOR DONATIONS AS NEW FIGURES SHOW 11% RISE IN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE SUPPORTED BY THE CHARITY
Just under 10,000 people now homeless - Nearly 4,000 of these are children and some have been born into homelessness this year
Focus Ireland made an urgent appeal for donations today as it reported an 11% jump in the number of people helped by the charity so far this year. As the crisis continues to deepen Focus Ireland said it has helped 15,000 people (who are homeless or at risk of losing their home) in the first 11 months of this year compared to 13,500 in the same period in 2017.
The charity is now making an urgent appeal for donations to make sure it can cope with the constantly rising demands on its services due to the deepening crisis. Focus Ireland stressed that while it receives State funding it also needs to raise at least 50% of its annual budget to keep its services and housing running. Focus Ireland said 89 cents of every euro it receives is spent on work to combat and prevent homelessness.
Focus Ireland Services Manager John O’Haire spoke about the great work at the charity’s flagship Coffee Shop & Advice Centre in Temple Bar in Dublin as he reported the service has served 40,000 meals this year and helped over 7,000 people.
John O’Haire said:
“It is awful to see anyone homeless and to see families with their children coming in to us at this time of year every evening is terrible. We really do depend on donations now more than ever so our services are here to help people and can cope with the constantly rising demand. If people could please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal. Any donation will help us to directly support these families and individuals and also help fund our work to prevent others from becoming homeless in the first place. People can donate at focusireland.ie or by phoning 1850 204 205.”
One family who are homeless and living in hotel emergency accommodation feature in Focus Ireland’s Christmas appeal. The mother Fiona wrote in a letter about how the family are struggling but Focus Ireland’s help has made a big difference. She said:
“We have our case manager from Focus Ireland and I don’t think we could have coped with it all without her and Focus Ireland. They help us a lot. She added: “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I can’t cope. I can’t believe we are still in this situation. But I know I can talk to our case manager at any time for a shoulder to cry on. My children love all the Focus Ireland staff. They almost feel like family now.”
Meanwhile, Mr. O’Haire also spoke passionately of the terrible impact being homeless has on children as he said:
“It really is heart-breaking to know that some of these children have been born into homelessness. Some of them will spend their first Christmas with their family forced to live in one little room together. They are our children too and we have a duty as a society to provide a safe home for them. We have a duty to protect the childhoods of these children and to make sure they do not suffer from being homeless for long periods of time.”
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 January to Nov this year includes:
- Helped over 350 families out of homelessness so far this year
- Served 40,000 meals at the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop.
- Provides homes for 1200 households around the country who were previously homeless or at risk.
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.
People can donate to Focus Ireland’s urgent Christmas appeal at focusireland.ie or PH 1850 204 205
Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara: 086 85 15 117