Focus Ireland launched a new study today which reports that 95% of the people it successfully supported last year were still in their homes six months after disengaging from the charity’s services.
The new report looked at the outcomes for people who disengaged from Focus Ireland during 2017. The study – which was carried out over a 12-month period – sought to evaluate the longer term impact of its work of helping people to overcome or avoid homelessness.
The report is titled “Are You Still OK?” and was launched at Buswells Hotel in Dublin and Focus Ireland said it is a key part of its ongoing commitment to “measure not just the number people we help but to also ensure that we provide lasting solutions for these families and individuals.” In total, Focus Ireland supported 1,065 households out of homelessness during 2017. Focus Ireland research team sought to follow up with as many of these households as possible to ascertain whether they were still in stable homes.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said:
“We know that our staff work extremely hard and are dedicated in helping people who are homeless or at risk. However, this research asked the hard questions to find out if all this hard work is really delivering lasting solutions for people? It was great to see that the key findings of this research show that the answer to this question is “Yes”….that the work we are doing is actually changing lives and helping people to either overcome or avoid homelessness.”
A total of 5% of people who took part in the study described their own current situation as ‘homeless’, the majority of whom were staying short-term with family or friends. Focus Ireland said it will review this finding to determine what needs to be done for people in this situation. These customers were subsequently linked back with our services, if they had not done so already themselves.
Mr. Dennigan said:
“The traditional approach towards reporting for NGOs has been restricted to the number of people worked with or the number of meals served during a year. This information is important as for instance it enables us to show we helped 1,065 households out of homelessness last year. However, it is also vital to dig a bit deeper to show the long-term outcomes for people so we can determine the effectiveness and value for money of our services. We must be able to show that our services really do change lives by helping to protect people from homelessness both now and in to the future.”
The research included telephone surveys with 288 people who disengaged with the charity’s services during 2017 after being helped to exit homelessness or prevented from becoming homeless. The surveys were designed to capture tenancy sustainment and ascertain the impact of Focus Ireland services had on their housing situation.
The main findings of the research include:
The report also included some stark findings about how secure people feel in their homes. For example, 54% of people living in the private rented sector were worried about becoming homeless in the next 12 months. This compares to only 15% of those in local authority housing. Focus Ireland said that this demonstrates the perceived lack of security among many families and people who exit homelessness through the private rented market and the urgent need for measures to strengthen security of tenure, if the rental sector is to act as a long-term housing solution for lower income groups.
Focus Ireland has repeatedly called for the Government needs to increase the provision of and access to affordable rental & social housing in order to end the current crisis as nearly 10,000 people are now homeless. It is also clear that the support and prevention work of Focus Ireland (and other organisations) also plays a vital role in helping people to leave homeless or to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. This twin-track approach of increased provision of housing twined with effective support and prevention services is the only way we will move away from managing the crisis towards ending homelessness.
The charity said the findings will inform future development and refinement of its services and help work towards ending homelessness. One the key performance indicators set out in Focus Ireland’s strategic plan 2017-2020 relates to the sustainment of tenancies for households the charity has helped to exit homelessness and another core KPI relates to sustainment of tenancies for households supported by the charity’s prevention services. You can read the full report by Daniel Hoey and Sarah Sheridan of Focus Ireland HERE〈 Back to Press Releases