Two of Ireland’s leading homeless charities come together to improve services for vulnerable children and young people
The Boards of the leading housing and homeless charity, Focus Ireland, and youth homelessness charity, Home Again, are delighted to announce that the two organisations are amalgamating.
Focus will take over services currently provided by Home Again from July 1st. The two organisations have a shared ethos, shared values and a shared commitment to social justice and high-quality service provision, and this amalgamation will lead to the provision of more effective services for vulnerable and young people who are homeless in Ireland.
Focus Ireland is well known for the range of services it provides to prevent homelessness and support people out of homelessness, including through its housing arm, Focus Housing Association, which is the largest Special Needs Approved Housing Body in Ireland. It is well known for its services to families, its Housing First programme and its research publications, as well as its work with young adults and children. Home Again specialises in providing residential accommodation for young people in care and supporting them into independent adulthood.
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, which funds both Home Again and Focus Ireland’s youth services, has welcomed the move.
“Many people who are homeless have complex support needs so there will always be a need for specialist organisations working with specific groups, but Focus Ireland is actively committed to consolidation across the sector which means providing better and more efficient services to vulnerable people,’ said Michael Layde, Chairperson of Focus Ireland.
‘Focus Ireland has developed highly regarded services pioneering Housing First services for young adults, supports for young people leaving care and emergency responses to children in crisis. Home Again has built an excellent reputation for providing long-term residential care for young people in the care of Tusla. As a result of the transfer, Focus Ireland will be able to provide a full range of residential care services with a highly skilled and dedicated staff.’
The Chairperson of Home Again (formerly Los Angeles Society), Stephen O’Leary said, ‘We are delighted to find a partner in Focus Ireland which will secure the values, legacy, and work which we in Home Again are so proud of. For over 50 years Home Again has been committed to providing a caring home and security for children who would otherwise have been extremely vulnerable. Ireland has changed enormously since Home Again was founded in 1965 by the late Father Michael Sweetman and our organisation has played a major role in changing it for the better for vulnerable children. The demands on charities are greater now so it makes sense for a charity with the strength and experience of Focus to continue the work of Home Again and develop it even further.’
The legal and financial arrangements involve the transfer of Home Again’s assets, undertakings, and on-going activities to Focus Ireland and is subject to the approval of Charities’ Regulator. Home Again, a company limited by guarantee, will then be wound up. Home Again’s residential care staff have been offered a transfer to Focus Ireland, under TUPE. Two residential centres and other facilities for young people will also transfer over.
Home Again, which until March 2004 was called Los Angeles Society was established in 1965 by the campaigning Jesuit, Fr. Michael Sweetman, in response to the high level of children who were homeless on the streets at that time. Focus Ireland was founded twenty years later by Sr Stan Kennedy.