FOCUS IRELAND END OF YEAR REPORT SHOWS CHARITY HAS DELIVERED NEARLY 600 HOMES IN THE LAST 4 YEARS

FOCUS IRELAND END OF YEAR REPORT SHOWS CHARITY HAS DELIVERED NEARLY 600 HOMES IN THE LAST 4 YEARS

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FOCUS IRELAND END OF YEAR REPORT SHOWS CHARITY HAS DELIVERED NEARLY 600 HOMES IN THE LAST 4 YEARS

Focus Ireland’s end of year report issued today shows the charity delivered 92 homes in 2019. In the last 4 years, Focus Ireland has delivered 587 homes to households that were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness.

These homes were delivered by Focus Housing and the great success was achieved in partnership with the State and through public donations and business support for the charity.

These housing figures mean Focus Ireland is firmly on track to deliver 750 additional homes over the course of its current 5-year plan which runs to the end of 2020.

Focus Ireland also announced that it served over 47,000 hot meals in its Coffee Shop in Temple Bar in 2019- this is an increase of nearly 3,000 meals compared to 2018 as demand for the service has increased.

The charity has over 80 services around Ireland and said its staff were very busy helping people over the Christmas period. The Focus Ireland Coffee Shop is open every day of the year and is providing a hot meal and warm welcome for over 120 people each day over Christmas and the New Year.

As a new year approaches the charity called on the Government to take a number of key actions to help ease the deepening housing and homelessness crisis. These include:

  1. Put in place a specific strategy to tackle the family homelessness crisis as nearly 4,000 children in 1,733 families are homeless.
  2. Set a cast iron deadline that means no family or individual remains homeless for more than six months.
  3. Introduce a far more aggressive tax regime on vacant development lands to encourage the owners to build rather than hoard land and watch its value increase every year. A higher tax on vacant development lands would also act to force land prices down.
  4. To put in place a strategy to end youth homelessness. (Focus Ireland ran a campaign this year calling for all parties to commit to putting this action on youth homelessness in general election manifestoes. Over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for an end to youth homelessness which was first launched at the Body and Soul Festival in June).

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said:

“There’s now over 10,500 people homeless and it is heart-breaking to see nearly 4,000 of these are children. Many of these families had their own home last year and just spent Christmas with their children stuck in a cramped hotel room or other emergency accommodation.”

Mr Dennigan added:

“It’s particularly shocking that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness. Being homeless causes terrible trauma to any family or individual but it is hurting children the most. We are seeing this through our own work supporting these families. Babies are living in tiny hotel rooms where they don’t even have enough room to learn how to crawl properly. Hotel rooms – and homeless hubs – are no place for children to be growing up. This is wrong and it must end. We must always remember that behind these shocking statistics are real people that need our help to secure a place to call home.”

Focus Ireland said that even though the crisis continues, and more needs to be done in 2020, there is much work being done across the housing and homelessness sector to help many families and individuals. The charity said that it has managed to help over 1,200 families to secure a home – in partnership with the State and its supporters – in the last two years and move on from being homeless.

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