Focus Ireland to be Body & Soul’s 10th anniversary charity partner

Art, Activism and Celebrities join forces in a powerful movement to help #EndYouthHomelessness as number of 18-24 year-olds homeless rockets 82% since 2015

Focus Ireland has teamed up with the Body & Soul music festival as part of the charity’s new campaign to #EndYouthHomelessness.  Focus Ireland said it is proud to be Body & Soul’s 10th anniversary charity partner as this year’s event takes place over the weekend of June 21st – 23rd 2019.

The charity announced the new partnership at its flagship Coffee Shop service in Temple Bar in Dublin as it launched “Couches Don’t Count” which aims to highlight the growing youth homelessness crisis as a record number of nearly 900 young people aged 18-24 are now homeless.

Focus Ireland named the campaign “Couches Don’t Count” to #EndYouthHomelessness to highlight the growing issue of housing instability and homelessness for Ireland’s younger generation. Young people are bearing the brunt of the housing and homelessness crisis, and are six times more likely to experience discrimination by private landlords.

The charity urged Body & Soul festival goers – and the general public – to be part of the “Couches Don’t Count” campaign to #EndYouthHomelessness by signing and sharing an online petition at which is calling for Government to develop a Youth Homelessness strategy.

Body & Soul Founder, Avril Stanley said:

“Young people in Ireland have proven themselves time and again to be the real change makers in our society. When we decided to mobilise our audience behind one of the most challenging issues facing our society today, we looked no further than the issue of homelessness and Focus Ireland as our partner. Our socially conscious, connected and empowered young generation is perfectly positioned to create a movement behind ending youth homelessness forever. And we believe this is just the start.”

Neil Forsyth, Focus Ireland Services Manager said:

“Young adults are the most likely age group of people who are homeless who will bunk-in with friends and extended family to keep a roof over their heads.They are part of the hidden homeless which means they are not included in the Government’s official homelessness figures. When this happens they are barely mentioned in Government policy or strategy, and there is no provision for addressing their very particular needs and circumstances. Those leaving state care or detention, from migrant or ethnic groups, or who identify as LGBTQ are disproportionately represented in youth homelessness.”

There are now a record number of 18-24 year-olds homeless and many more living as part of the hidden homeless – sleeping on friends’ couches to keep off the streets with tens of thousands more having to pay massive rents for low standard, cramped housing. Many are  paying up to 60% – or more – of their income on rent and have to share with a number of people. Co-living is already a reality for many young people.

“Couches Don’t Count” to #EndYouthHomelessness features a specially written spoken word piece by artist Stephen James Smith which will be performed on the Body & Soul main stage throughout the festival. There will also be a series of activist talks by Emmet Kirwan, Una Mullally, Colm O’Gorman, Síona Cahill, Senator Lynn Ruane among others which aim to explore the different aspects of the crisis while also trying to harness the power of this socially conscious generation to #EndYouthHomelessness.

The talks will take place at the Focus Ireland Home which is a specially designated space for thoughtful reflection and energetic activism located in the Woodlands Area at the festival.

Earlier this year, The Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness of whom Focus Ireland is a member called for urgent action by the Government as the number of young people becoming homeless has shot up by 82% in the last four years. With this in mind, mobilising as many signatures as possible both at the festival and beyond is crucial to highlight this critical  issue.


For more information on Body & Soul Music & Arts Festival and to book tickets visit:

For more information on the #EndYouthHomelessness campaign visit:

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