New Figures Show the Deepening Impact of the Housing & Homelessness Crisis
Focus Ireland highlighted the deepening impact of the housing & homelessness crisis today as it issued new figures reporting that one of its prevention services has seen figures treble since last year.
The prevention services at Focus Ireland’s flagship Coffee Shop service in Temple Bar in Dublin supported 266 people in Jan & Feb this year compared to 86 people in the same two month period in 2017.
The same service also serviced nearly 3,000 meals every month last year and this great demand is continuing this year as the Coffee Shop serves at least 100 people every day.
Commenting on the new figures Kieran Vulker who runs the Coffee Shop/ Advice & information service said: “The rise in the numbers we are working with shows the steady increase of people who are at risk of losing their homes. Our staff are working harder than ever and there are some great success stories but it is also more difficult than ever for families or single people to find suitable, affordable housing.”
There is now a record 9,104 men, women and children homeless across Ireland. Focus Ireland has called for more urgent action by the State to tackle this issue while the charity stressed that crisis would be even worse without its working helping over 14,000 people a year who are homeless or at risk. The increased demand for Focus Ireland services is highlighted by a powerful video which centres on the work of its innovative Coffee Shop/Advice & information centre in Temple Bar in Dublin. The hard-hitting video shows the exhaustive efforts which Focus Ireland staff make on a daily basis to support people who are homeless and to prevent others from losing their homes.
The video features the story of 64 year-old Alex McGrath, a man who has experienced the trauma of homelessness, and the positive outcome since he linked in with Focus Ireland Services and you can watch a clip of it here https://bit.ly/2G6AvH3 He said: “I see the help people get in Focus Ireland every day and, without that help, they would be lost.”
Focus Ireland has geared up its prevention services to help tackle the ever deepening homelessness crisis. Kieran Vulker who runs the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop said: “Focus Ireland staff are working hard every day of the year to help the people who are homeless right across Ireland, people like Alex. We aim to get people into a home as quickly as possible. We believe very strongly that the answer to ending the homeless crisis is providing more homes not more emergency beds. The emergency beds are a short term answer and we need to move beyond this emergency response by ensuring people can secure a home as quickly as possible. If we don’t do this we will always keep moving from one emergency situation to the next.” The service is open every day and provides quality, affordable meals for homeless adults, families and children, in a safe and warm environment.
Alex recalled how the service helped lift him up from his lowest point in life as he said: “Four years ago I was homeless. I was really struggling with alcohol and I was seriously ill. I had lost my family and my home and I had nowhere else to go. And then one day it hit me. I was homeless. That’s how quick it happened. It was like waking up out of a dream. That’s when I called Focus Ireland. He also spoke of the terrible impact being homeless had on a man of his age as he said: “I felt worthless; I was even crossing the road to avoid people I knew, because I couldn’t face anyone. I’m so grateful for all of the lovely people at Focus Ireland, who helped me to turn my life around. I stopped drinking and with their help worked on finding a home. The support they gave me was so important. They give you the motivation you need. They treat you with respect. I know for a fact if I had spent more time on the streets I’d be dead now. Thanks to Focus Ireland I have my own home now. ”
Alex told his story in the video to help promote the Focus Ireland Easter Appeal. The charity is asking people to donate what they can afford at focusireland.ie or phone 1850 204 205. Focus Ireland highlighted that a total of 89 cent of every euro it receives goes on services to combat and prevent homelessness.
The charity said that while it works in partnership with the State on some services it has to raise at least 50% of its annual budget to keep its services and housing going to allow it to help over 14,000 people each year while also providing nearly 1000 homes.