Mairead Ronan calls on the Irish public to support the 1,117 families who will spend Christmas in emergency accommodation

The broadcaster is partnering with Focus Ireland as part of its Christmas donation appeal.

  • Santa will visit over 2,642 children in emergency accommodation this Christmas
  • These children are part of the 1,100 families spending Christmas in emergency accommodation
  • This year Focus Ireland services have helped over 760 families to find a home

Today Focus Ireland, with the help of broadcaster Mairead Ronan, has launched an appeal for donations to help support the 1,117 families that will spend this Christmas in emergency accommodation. Becoming homeless is every family’s worst nightmare, but sadly the numbers of families without a home has been steadily rising over the past number of years. Over 2,500 children in Ireland will spend this Christmas living in emergency accommodation.

As part of its Christmas appeal, Focus Ireland will highlight the issue of the hidden homeless and to help drive awareness and encourage donations, has created an installation on South William Street Dublin. The space is designed as a typical 12×12 foot hotel room and shows what life is like for a family living in emergency accommodation. While the city will be filled with socially distanced shoppers, Christmas lights and festive window displays, this installation is a reminder that for many families Christmas won’t be spent at home, but in a cramped space used as a kitchen, bedroom and living room for all the family.

Focus Ireland believe that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. This Christmas, the charity needs the Irish public’s support to ensure this vision can become a reality. Focus Ireland want to shine a light on the hidden homeless in Ireland,  the 1,117 families and approximately 2,642 children that will, unfortunately, be spending this festive season in emergency accommodation.

This year to date, Focus Ireland has helped over 760 families find a home including 1,633 children. The charity is working hard to support these children and relies heavily on public donations to ensure it can carry out the full extent of its work. While the charity does receive State funding it still has to raise over 40% of its annual budget through fundraising.

John O’Haire, service manager at Focus Ireland said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected charity efforts all across Ireland. At Focus Ireland, we have continued our efforts throughout the pandemic to work towards our goal of everyone, particularly children, having a place they can truly call home for Christmas and beyond. We have seen an increase in demand for our services as the harsh realities of the impact of Covid-19 come to light.

Child homelessness in Ireland has increased by 253 % since July 2014  and with the help of the Irish public, we want to change these children’s lives and ensure they have a safe, permanent roof over their heads. We really appreciate the support the public has given to us over the years and we hope that this year they can continue to support Focus Ireland”

Broadcaster Mairead Ronan commented, “As a parent, I can’t imagine what it must be like to try and function as a family living in emergency accommodation, especially over Christmas and in the middle of a pandemic. My heart goes out to all the children who will be waking up on Christmas morning in a hotel room so I wanted to get involved with this year’s Christmas appeal and help in whatever small way I can. This installation is a stark reminder of what the reality of homelessness and emergency accommodation is like. It so important we support organisations like Focus Ireland that support these families and help provide them with a place to call home”.

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