Focus Ireland Annual Report Shows it Helped Record Number of over 15,500 people in 2018

Focus Ireland Annual Report Shows it Helped Record Number of over 15,500 people in 2018

Charity helped over 500 families to leave homelessness last year in partnership with the State but stressed Govt. must shift policy to end the deepening human crisis

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Focus Ireland Annual Report Shows it Helped Record Number of over 15,500 people in 2018

Focus Ireland supported a record number of over 15,500 people last year who were homeless or at risk – the charity announced at its Annual Report 2018 launch in Dublin.

This is a rise of over 7% from the 14,500 helped by Focus Ireland in 2017 and a 14% since 2016 when the charity supported over 13,500 people.

Focus Ireland also reported that its housing wing, Focus Housing, provided an additional 176 homes last year under its strategy target to provide 750 more homes by 2020 to help tackle the growing homelessness crisis.

Speaking at the launch in the Irish Architectural Archive in Merrion Sq. Dublin Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “ I am proud we’ve delivered 495 homes over the last three years and are on track to achieve our target of doubling our housing stock by 2020. By the end of 2018 Focus Ireland owned or managed a total of 1,176 homes for people who were previously homeless or at risk.”

He added:

“Sometimes I think that many people have come to believe that it is impossible to end homelessness.  We have even seen some try to spin the housing and homelessness crisis as an unavoidable cost of the economic recovery in recent years. However that takes no account of the damage this crisis continues to inflict on people and families all over the country.”

“Focus Ireland continues to believe this crisis can be ended. Our Annual Report sets out the part we play in working towards trying to make this happen. In 2018 our teams continued to deliver services which helped change the lives of over 15,500 people across the country.”

Focus Ireland outlined some key achievements in 2018 including:

  • Supported over 1,600 families who were homeless.
  • Helped over 500 families to leave homelessness.
  • Prevented nearly 600 households from losing their home.
  • 434 people took part in Focus Ireland’s education programme.
  • 5,891 people provided with advice & information.
  • Focus Housing Association provided 176 homes.
  • Served a total of 44,276 hot meals.

Read the full report here: www.focusireland.ie

The charity’s Annual Report 2018 was launched by Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan along with Brian Somers who was formerly homeless and housed by Focus Ireland.  Brian (47) tells in the Annual Report how he got clean from drugs over 10 years ago and how Focus Ireland helped him to secure a home and to move on in life.  He now works as an Assertive In-reach Homeless Case Manager with Coolmine Rehab Centre in Dublin and helps others on the path to recovery.

He said:

“I was nine months clean and homeless in emergency accommodation when I go the news I was going to be housed.  I had a meeting with Focus Ireland and knew I was going to be OK.  After I moved in to my new home I decided to education myself. It was tough as it was a long time since school. The amount of support I got from Focus Ireland was amazing.  I soon became caretaker in the property where I was living and completed a degree and got accredited as an addiction counsellor.”

Brian highlights how the great support one Focus Ireland staff member in particular Emilia Sfetcu really helped him over the years.  He said:

“Emilia my key worker helped me get through all this.  She still phones me from time to time to ask how I am.”

He added:

“As Focus Ireland’s motto says: ‘Challenging Homelessness, Changing lives.’  They certainly changed mine.”

Focus Ireland Life President & Founder Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy highlighted the human cost of homelessness – especially the damage being done to children as she said:

“The consistent response by the Government in recent years to homelessness has been to say that it takes time to tackle the crisis.”

“However, the nearly 4,000 children who are homeless don’t have time.  They are having their childhood’s stolen by homelessness and every day spent homeless is doing them harm.”

She added:

“I am very concerned about the Government’s continued focus on the delivery of family hubs rather than permanent homes. The Government admits that hubs are only a ‘first response’ but there is still no sign of them delivering a long-term second plan to deal with the crisis we are facing. We need the Government to set a cast-iron deadline that no person or family would be homeless for longer than six months and we also need a detailed sub-strategy on family homelessness to get to grips with this ever deepening crisis a total of 10,275 people are now homeless.”

Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara 086 85 15 117 or Conor Culkin – 086 468 04 42

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