New Focus Ireland figures show 72 families became homeless in Oct. and presented to the charity’s family services in Dublin
The hard-hitting campaign highlights the stark fact that there are over 1500 children and up to 800 families now homeless.
Meanwhile new figures issued today by Focus Ireland show that yet another 72 families who became homeless were referred to its family services in Dublin in October. The crisis is also developing in other cities as more people are struggling to keep a roof over their head.
The new campaign features radio and outdoor ads. The outdoor billboard ad features the line: “The nightmare of homelessness. Over 1500 children have no place to call home. Help us to help them.”
Focus Ireland’s family team supports families and children who are homeless and works to help them secure a home. Our team helps 15 to 20 families to secure a home each month ( Often in co-operation with local authorities and other NGO’s) but with 70 to 80 families becoming homeless every month the need for our services has never been greater.
Sr. Stan spoke of the terrible impact being homeless has on children as she said: “Christmas should be a time of job for people to gather and share the happiness of the season in their own homes. However, it breaks my heart to say that tonight alone there will be over 1500 children and their families who have no place to call home. It’s the children who feel it the worst. Many children and their families who are homeless are often squeezed into one tiny hotel rooms – 3, 4, 5 people in one room, nowhere to cook or for children to play. And it’s not just families. There are many single people and couples homeless and they all need a place to call home.”
Sr. Stan highlighted the vital role Focus Ireland’s lifeline services play in supporting these families as she said: “Every day Focus Ireland is changing the lives of hundreds of struggling families. With your support we can help even more.”
She added “Focus Ireland is working hard to support these families every day and not just at Christmas but we really depend on donations at this time of year to raise vital funds to make sure our services can cope with the ever rising demand. I am asking people to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal.”
“Any donation will help us to directly support these families and also help fund our work to prevent other families and single people from becoming homeless in the first place. People can donate at focusireland-old.gdlindev.net or 1850 204 205.”
The charity said this Christmas will be a very challenging time as demand for its services has grown by over 44% in the last two years and the rising number of families and single people seeking support continues this year. Sr. Stan said: “Focus Ireland supported over 11,500 people last year who were homeless or at risk of losing their home. This great work was possible because people all over the country still think of others despite times being tough for all and they donated what they could to support our work. We really need people to give what they can so Focus Ireland can be there to support the people who need it the most this Christmas and all through the year.”
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 also warned that the main reasons why the homeless crisis continues to deepen and warned of its the fears the new Government package to tackle the issues announced during the week will fail to stop another 70 to 80 families becoming homeless this month and next.
Sr Stan said: “There are measures in the government package announced last week which we have been seeking for some time – such as providing tax breaks to landlords that rent to social tenants and higher penalties where people are wrongly evicted – and these will help the situation.”
“However, there are two critical elements which the package does not address: the level of Rent Supplement and the actions of banks when they repossess buy-to-let landlords. These are huge issues and so the package risks not stemming the constant flow of 70 to 80 families a month losing their homes and becoming homeless in Dublin alone. This problem is also rising now in other major cities nationwide such as Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.
Focus Ireland’s Urgent Christmas Appeal urges people to call 1850 204 205 or log on to focusireland-old.gdlindev.net to make a donation or to find out other ways they can support the charity’s work. Focus Ireland said its new campaign aims to keep homelessness firmly on the public and political agenda in the countdown to Christmas.
Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara 086 85 15 117 or Michelle Moran: 086 468 044 2