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Irish Tech Sector asked to provide vital support in combatting Ireland’s Homelessness Crisis

Project launches as new figures show 8,737 people now homeless.

Dublin, Ireland, 23rd November 2020: Former Dragons’ Den investor and businessman Barry O’Sullivan has teamed up with Focus Ireland on a project to deliver over 100 homes in the next two years for families & individuals who are homeless or at risk. Barry previously helped Focus Ireland by selling his holiday home on the Aran Islands and donating the proceeds to the charity.

Now Barry is spear-heading a new initiative called “Technology for Transformation” which involves mobilising the support of the large Irish technology sector to raise funds to assist Focus Ireland to provide over 100 homes over the next two years. A number of leading companies have already signed up to the initiative including LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal and Teamwork.

Like any home buyer, Focus Ireland is required to place a deposit on a property before being able to access the balance from its funders. The average 10% equity deposit that Focus Ireland must have in place to leverage the finance required to buy a typical 2+ bedroom family unit is €25,000. The charity accesses the additional funding required to deliver each home through a mix of State funding sources. How the new “Technology for Transformation” initiative works is that each technology company that participates will provide from between €25,000 to €50,000 per year to enable Focus Ireland to place the 10% equity deposit on a home in order to be able to deliver these 100 much needed homes over the next two years.

Ireland is currently home to 8 of the top 10 global technology companies employing approximately 127,000 people. With Dublin serving as the centre point for Europe’s technology sector, there comes a responsibility to provide an affordable standard of living to its’s workforce and the communities in which the companies operate in. Through the “Technology for Transformation” initiative, more social housing will be made available to those who need it, alleviating current pressures placed on the private rental market.

Speaking about the new initiative, Mr Barry O’Sullivan said: “Focus Ireland has real solutions to this crisis, and as part of their strategy they have committed to providing an additional 150 homes per year. I know that the Irish technology sector can come together to help fund delivery of 100 of those homes over the next two years.”

He added: “Everyone needs a place to call home where they can be safe and live with their family and loved ones. Home is the foundation stone of all our lives and during this awful pandemic, this has become even more apparent. No person – especially a child – should ever be homeless and we want the Tech sector to help in the fight to end homelessness.”

The campaign is phased one of a long-term project which will help work towards a sustainable solution to ending the homeless and housing crisis rather than managing these issues through emergency homeless accommodation and other schemes.

Pat Dennigan, CEO of Focus Ireland, said: “An increased supply of social housing is vital if we are to provide sustained exits out of homelessness. The delivery of housing remains a core part of Focus Ireland’s strategy and is a cornerstone in our work of challenging homelessness and changing lives. I really can’t underestimate how invaluable the new “Technology for Transformation” initiative will be in supporting our work across the country to provide more homes.”

Mr Dennigan added: “The Irish Technology sector is renowned for its creativity and generosity, and this initiative will go a long way in helping us provide more secure, affordable and high-quality homes to individuals and families previously homeless or at risk of homelessness over the next two years.”

Focus Ireland’s work addresses homelessness in two key ways: preventing homelessness in the first place and achieving sustained exits out of homelessness. This work is underpinned by an ambitious property acquisition plan. The organisation has demonstrable experience in building, acquiring and managing properties and tenancies with a current housing stock over 1,100 properties. As a registered Approved Housing Body (AHB), the charity recognises that homes are the most practical and effective method for combatting homelessness. The more homes that become available means vulnerable groups can leave emergency accommodation. Last year, the charity supported over 14,500 people who were homeless or at risk. They also helped over 1,100 families to exit homelessness permanently and prevented a further 640 households to keep their homes.

As companies start to make key decision for 2021, any technology company that would like to get involved in the “Technology for Transformation” initiative can email corporate@focusireland.ie or call 01 881 5900.

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