Focus Ireland set to Mark 10 Years of Challenging Homelessness and Changing Lives in Cork
Focus Ireland are marking ten years of challenging homelessness and changing lives in Cork through its work providing services and housing in the country since 2007. A decade on and Focus Ireland has been a steady rise in numbers presenting, and those who are at serious risk of losing their home in Cork.
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.
Locally we provide;
- Accommodation: 30 much needed homes for families and individuals who were previously homeless or at risk. We will treble the number of homes we provide by the end of 2019, to 90, thanks to the support of the Housing Finance Agency.
- Partnership: In collaboration with Cork Simon and Local Authorities we support the repair to lease scheme. It backs landlords who want to use refurbish properties for social housing.
- Youth Housing: Since 2014 we have supported 50 young people find much needed homes, 19 through Focus Ireland accommodation and an additional 31 through outreach.
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 become 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 the Government review of Rebuilding Ireland (to be concluded in September) must include immediate action to to ease the rental crisis and also get more vacant homes back into the housing stock.
Mr. Spillane said; “The review of Rebuilding Ireland is a real chance to improve access to housing by introducing more incentives for people to rent out empty houses and to stop developers hoarding building land by having penalties for those who do so.”
“However, we need firm action on these matters and are not more watered down ‘half-way’ house policies that are hammered out to try and keep all parties happy but end up failing everyone. Any system for tenants and landlords alike and the Government must act to take the action required. It is the only way to ease this ever worsening crisis and help households to keep a roof over their heads.”
Focus Ireland is making a submission to the Rebuilding Ireland review process which will include some key asks.
The soaring coast of rent locally coupled with a shortage in supply in Cork City and County is also a major concern. Cork City saw its rents increase by at least 10% in the year leading to March 2017, an increase of 55.1% from the trough in winter 2011.
Mr. Spillane said the situation will not greatly improve without an increase in the number of rental properties available on the market. The charity said the Government really has to kick-start the building of homes and follow through on delivering a more secure private rented sector if Ireland is to end the deepening crisis in the rental housing and homelessness areas.
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.
“There is a constant demand for Focus Ireland’s services in Cork and I know from speaking to many of the other charities there are more people seeking support than ever before.”
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: Alan Neary on 086 468 0442 or email email@example.com