Focus Ireland launched an urgent Christmas appeal today with a hard-hitting campaign that highlights nearly 4,000 children are homeless nationwide.
The charity’s Life President Sr. Stan launched the campaign which appeals to people to donate in support of Focus Ireland’s work challenging homelessness and changing lives.
Focus Ireland said that while the crisis is still deepening – with a record total of 9,698 people now homeless – the situation would be much worse without the lifeline services and housing it provides.
Focus Ireland also issued new figures today showing it has helped more than 13,000 people from January to end of September this year – This is a 6% rise from the 12,270 helped compared to the same period in 2017. The charity also announced that it has supported over 350 families to secure a home and escape homelessness from January- September 2018.
Focus Ireland said that it relies heavily on donations from the public to ensure it is able to carry out the full extent of the work it does. While the charity does receive State funding, Focus Ireland has to raise 50% of its budget to ensure its frontline staff are always able to be there when people need help.
Sr. Stan said:
“We really do depend on donations now more than ever to raise funds so our services can cope with the constantly 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 individuals from becoming homeless in the first place. People can donate at www.focusireland.ie or by phoning 1850 204 205.”
One family who are homeless and living in hotel emergency accommodation feature in Focus Ireland’s Christmas appeal. The mother Fiona wrote in a letter about how the family are struggling but Focus Ireland’s help has made a big difference. She said:
“We have our case manager from Focus Ireland and I don’t think we could have coped with it all without her and Focus Ireland. They help us a lot.”
“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I can’t cope. I can’t believe we are still in this situation. But I know I can talk to our case manager at any time for a shoulder to cry on. My children love all the Focus Ireland staff. They almost feel like family now.”
Fiona also explained the impact that losing their home and having to move to the hotel has had on family life as she said:
“Monday to Friday we get up and my husband goes to work and I drop the kids to school. We have to get two buses. It is hard on the kids. They miss their friends. They miss their swing in the garden.”
Focus Ireland’s Family Team work hard to support families in this situation in partnership with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, and the support includes specific childcare workers. Each family has a case manager who assesses their needs, provides support and works towards helping them to secure a home.
Meanwhile, Sr. Stan also spoke passionately of the terrible impact being homeless has on children as she said:
“It really breaks my heart to know that some of these children have been born into homelessness. Some of them will spend their first Christmas with their family forced to live in one little room together. They are our children too and we have a duty as a society to provide a safe home for them. We have a duty to protect the childhoods of these children and to make sure they do not suffer from being homeless for long periods of time.”
The campaign features TV, radio and outdoor ads and runs over the coming weeks to Christmas. Focus Ireland launched the campaign in Dublin city centre with an admobile of its new poster which features a mother and her child alongside the line: “Every 8 hours a family is made homeless. Together we can change this.”
Focus Ireland said that while the crisis is deepening the problem would be much worse again without the great work of its staff 365 days of the year. This work from January to September this year includes:
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 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 0868515117〈 Back to Press Releases