Advocacy Events & Lunchtime Talks

Advocacy Events & Lunchtime Talks

Focus Ireland advocacy events aim to generate discussion, share knowledge, and explore solutions to resolving homelessness.

Looking beyond the Homeless Crisis Lecture Series

Our “Looking beyond the Homeless Crisis Lecture Series” will be launched on Monday 23rd April 2018 and will feature the eminent homelessness researcher Prof. Dennis Culhane (University of Pennsylvania) who will present his paper Adult Homelessness: Risk Period or Cohort Effect? Implications for Policy and Practice.” Through the examination of large-scale quantitative evidence, this paper will demonstrate how many people who become homeless during a housing and homelessness crisis can ‘become stuck’ in homelessness for some time. Anticipatory planning is needed to ensure that appropriate and targeted interventions can address these issues effectively and in a timely manner.

John Murphy from the Homelessness Inter-Agency Group (HIAG) (which was set up under Rebuilding Ireland) will provide a response to the presentation by situating the research findings in the Irish context. A key question will be to address the high risk of prolonged homelessness among some individuals, long after a periodic ‘homeless crisis’ has ended. Some key questions include:

  • how to maintain political/administrative momentum after the peak of the crisis
  • how to support different agencies and organisations to tackle multi-faceted problems
  • how to set and retain focus on meaningful targets

Dr Helen Johnston (TBC) from the National Economic and Social Council will chair the event which will include an open discussion from the floor.

Event details:

  • Date: Monday 23rd April
  • Time: 10am-12.30pm (start time 10.15am sharp)
  • Venue: Royal Society of Antiquaries, 63 Merrion Square South, Dublin 2.
  • Tea and coffee will be provided.
  • Spaces limited. For more details or to RSVP, please click here.

About “Looking beyond the Homeless Crisis Lecture Series”: Today, homelessness appears to be on an inexorable rise and every voluntary organisation, state agency, volunteer and policy maker is entirely consumed in responding to some new element of the crisis. But there will come a time when the measures put in place to deliver new affordable housing will begin to match the demand, and the numbers entering homelessness will fall and we will have ‘turned the corner’.

Unless we start thinking about what is around that corner, Ireland will be unprepared for the new opportunities and challenges in homelessness that await. How will the structures and policies we have put in place to handle the homeless crisis serve us when an opportunity arises to cut homelessness funding? How easy will it be to dismantle the infrastructure of emergency accommodation that have been necessary to build? How will we avoid turning ‘first responses’ into long-term arrangements?

Focus Ireland and Trinity College School of Social Work and Social Policy is beginning a series of events and publications over the next two years which will start to open up a debate on these issues and start laying the foundations we need to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Lunchtime Talks

Focus Ireland and School of Social Work and Social Policy (Trinity College Dublin) host monthly lunchtime talks on emerging homelessness research in Ireland and internationally. There is also time allocated to discussion after presentations as a way of exploring possible policy implications.

Lunchtime talks are open to all. Please RSVP using the links provided.

Venue*: George’s Hill Chapel, Stanhope Green, Halston Street, Dublin 7. Click here for map.

*On occasion, a lunchtime talk or event may be hosted in a different venue and will be listed as such.

Upcoming Talks & Events 2018

Wednesday 11th April 2018 – Homeless Service Use in the Dublin Region 2017

Confirmed for our April Lunchtime talk is Bernie O’Donoghue Hynes, Head of Research in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive. Bernie will present the 2017 year end data for the Dublin Region relating to the full range of services provided for singles and families experiencing homelessness. This will include a review of homeless prevention services, numbers accessing and leaving emergency accommodation, families’ progression through services and the total number of tenancies secured over the year.

Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm
Location: Focus Ireland, The Chapel, George’s Hill, Halston Street, Dublin 7

RSVP here.

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Dates for the remainder of our upcoming series of Lunchtime Talks have been confirmed as the following:

  • May 16
  • June 13
  • September 12
  • October 17
  • November 14
  • December 12

Speakers will be announced in due course.

Previous Talks & Events

Wednesday 14th March 2018 – Public health and Homelessness: Two Papers on Hospital Use and Self-Harm among the Chronic Homeless Population

Dr Peter Barrett (UCC) presented on his medical research paper relating to the incidence of self-harm among the homeless population in Ireland and to assess factors associated with self-harm, concluding that there is a disproportionate burden of self-harm among the homeless and that targeted preventive actions are warranted.

Wednesday 21st February 2018 – Results from the Summary of Social Housing Assessments (SSHA)

Daragh McCarthy, Researcher at the Housing Agency, provided details on the headline results from the SSHA, including a demographic profile of households on the waiting list, a breakdown of the current tenure of those qualified for support and how homeless households are recorded on the list. The legislative underpinning the count and the longer-term development of SSHA was also considered.

Wednesday 17th January 2018 – Half-Day Seminar on Images of Homelessness

This half-day seminar and discussion on images and public attitudes of homelessness explored the implications these constructions have in shaping policy and service responses to homelessness in Ireland. Presentations on the day came from:

  • Dr Beth Watts of Herriot Watt University who spoke about “Navigating the ethics of responses to homelessness: intentions, impacts and innovation.” and;
  • Dr Francesca Alabanese, Crisis (UK), who gave a very interesting presentation on “How to Create More Effective Messages on Homelessness” from a UK perspective.

The second half of the seminar involved an engaging discussion on issues such as coverage of homelessness in the media and the absence of women from discussions of homelessness from a panel including Cormac Fitzgerald (TheJournal.ie), Dr Paula Mayock (Trinity College Dublin) and Mike Allen (Focus Ireland).

Wednesday 13th December 2017 – FAMILY HOMELESSNESS IN EUROPE – Prof Nicholas Pleace, European Observatory on Homelessness

Nicholas Pleace (Director of Centre for Housing, University of York & European Observatory of Homelessness) presented findings from a recent comparative report of family homelessness across European countries. You can download the Family Homelessness in Europe  report here. 

Wednesday 6th December 2017 – Focus Ireland Double Report Launch

On 6th December, Focus Ireland published two reports on Family Homelessness:

  • Dr Kathy Walsh and Brian Harvey “Finding a Home”
  • Neil Haran and Séan O’Shuichrú “Keeping a Home”

These reports extend our knowledge on family homelessness but also contributed to Focus Ireland’s Organisational Strategic Plan 2017-2020 which seeks to prioritise both prevention and housing in tackling the problem of homelessness. Both reports can be downloaded in full here.

Wednesday 8 November 2017 – HOUSING LED POLICIES: IRELAND & NORWAY – Dr Evelyn Dyb, Prof Eoin O’Sullivan and Aidan Culhane

Dr Evelyn Dyb (Norwegian Institute for Urban & Regional Research, Oslo), Prof Eoin O’Sullivan (TCD) and Aidan Culhane (former advisor to Jan O’Sullivan) engaged in a roundtable discussion on Housing Led Policy in Ireland. This followed from a Focus Ireland evening event in the RIA in which Dr Dyb presented on how housing led policy has led to the substantial reduction of homeless figures in Norway since 2012 (presentation can be found here). This was compared to the significant increase in numbers in the Irish context over the same time period, as presented by Prof. O’Sullivan (click here for presentation).

Wednesday 18 October 2017 – INVESTING IN A RIGHT TO A HOME – Dr Mary Murphy and Dr Rory Hearne

Dr Mary Murphy and Dr Rory Hearne (University of Maynooth) presented findings from their recent research report entitled “Investing in the Right to a Home, Houses, HAP and Hubs.” Their report, which can be found here, focuses on the structural crisis of family homelessness in Ireland using a human rights and capability theoretical framework and a participatory approach.

Wednesday 20 September 2017 – FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL HEALTH AMONG FAMILIES IN HOTEL ACCOMMODATION – Dr Michelle Share (TCD)

Dr Share presented findings from her recent research report entitled “Food Access and Nutritional Health among Famliies in Emergency Accommodation”. Her report, which can be found here, integrated semi-structured interviews with families and photo-elicitation methodology.

June 2017 – PREVENTION & HOMELESSNESS – Dr Peter Mackie (Cardiff University), Dr Steve Gaetz (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness), and Mike Allen (Focus Ireland)

Dr Peter Mackie, Dr Steve Gaetz and Mike Allen explored the topic of preventing homelessness in a roundtable event. This event took the form of an open discussion which considered international lessons on prevention of homelessness and how this can be applied in an Irish context.

May 2017 – PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR: IRELAND V ENGLAND – Dr Tom Moore (University of Sheffield)

Dr Tom Moore presented findings from his comparative analysis of the private rented sector between Ireland and England. His report, which was co-written with Dr Richard Dunning (University of Liverpool) and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation can be found here.

April 2017 – CAUSES OF FAMILY HOMELESSNESS – Dr Sarah Sheridan, Research Officer, Focus Ireland

Sarah Sheridan (Focus Ireland’s Research Officer) presented analysis drawn from four waves of data collection during 2016. The findings – which are regularly published on the Focus Ireland website – yield insights into family homelessness which are of relevance to both services and policy-makers.

March 2017 – PASS DATA ANALYSIS – Dr. Bernie O’Donoghue Hynes, Head of Research, Dublin Region Homeless Executive

Dr O’Donoghue Hynes presented a detailed review of key data for the Dublin region.  A review of statistics relating to numbers of persons engaging and flowing through homeless services will be explored and past and future trends analysed.

February 2017 – FINANCIAL SAVINGS ANALYSIS OF HOMELESSNESS – Prof. Nicholas Pleace (University of York)

Nicholas Pleace presented on research he conducted with Dennis Culhane (University of Pennsylvania) which examined the financial implications of extending preventative services for single homeless people in England, drawing on the lessons of extending homelessness prevention in Wales.

January 2017 – MENTAL HEALTH AND HOMELESSNESS – Ruth Ceannt (Psychiatry Registrar, HSE).

This talk was based on a study into the experiences of staff members in Dublin’s homeless services on working with individuals who report mental illness and addiction issues. This research, which was carried out in May 2015 as part of a Masters in Global Health, involved interviewing staff in various homeless services using semi-structured interviews.

December 2016 – Alison Connolly (Policy Officer, Focus Ireland) and Daniel Hoey (Researcher)

This talk detailed the planning, roll-out and evaluation of a targeted homelessness prevention campaign in Dublin 15 funded by Bord Gais.

November 2016 – EXPENDITURE AND FUNDING OF HOMELESS SERVICES – Prof Eoin O’Sullivan (Trinity College Dublin).

The presentation analysed trends in expenditure over the past 4 years, exploring the breakdown of expenditure between preventative and emergency services, the extent of funding by service provider and regional variations.

October 2016 – HOSPITAL DATA AND HOMELESSNESS – Dr Anne O’Farrell (HSE)

Dr Anne O’Farrell from the HSE examined inpatient hospitalisation admission data and found a 400% increase of individuals who were categorised as having “no fixed abode” over the last ten years.

September 2016 – JOBELESSNESS AND HOMELESSNESS – Dr. Helen Johnston (NESC)

Helen Johnston of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) talked about research on the circumstances of these jobless households, and explored the links between homelessness and joblessness.

June 2016 – REINVEST H2020 PROJECT: Dr Mary Murphy and Zuzanna Kucharski (NUI Maynooth) and Reinvest Peer Research Team (Paul Haughan, Emma Richardson, Kathleena Twomey and Tom Thompson)

‘Hearing it from the ground up’: An account of peer research into the social damage of the crisis in Ireland. This study forms part of a wider EU-funded Horizon 2020 study.

Reinvest Research Team

May 2016 – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND HOMELESSNESS – Dr Steph Holt (School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin)

‘Evaluation of Sonas Safe Home Project’. Dr Steph Holt presented research findings from a mixed methods study of a Sonas housing service for victims of domestic abuse.

April 2016 – HOUSING FIRST AND HOMELESSNESS – Prof. Tim Aubry (University of Ottawa), Freek Spinnewijn (Director, FEANTSA) and Adrian Quinn (Focus Ireland)

Roundtable discussion on the implementation of Housing First in both an Irish and a European Context. This event provided an opportunity to explore barriers and opportunities in implementing Housing First in Canada and across Europe and to generate discussion on how we apply these learnings to an Irish context.

Housing First Roundtable

March 2016 – HOMELESSNESS & DATA TRENDS IN IRELAND – Prof. Eoin O’Sullivan (School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin)

‘Recent Trends in Homelessness in Ireland’. In analysing statistical reports on homeless populations published by Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Prof. O’Sullivan presenting emerging trends in both the prevalence and profile of individuals and families becoming homeless across Ireland.

February 2016 – CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN HOMELESS ACCOMODATION – Alison Connolly (Policy Officer, Focus Ireland)

‘A Preliminary Analysis of Children and Families in Emergency Homeless Accommodation’. Alison presented key findings from an analysis of administrative data relating to families becoming homeless in 2015.

Focus Ireland Ending Youth Homelessness - National Conference Limerick

In September 2017, we held a national conference on Ending Youth Homelessness in Ireland.

This conference marked the launch of the Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness

National conference limerick


  Speakers/chairs included:
  • Sr Stan Kennedy (Founder of Focus Ireland)
  • Dr Paula Mayock (Trinity College Dublin)
  • Eilis Lawlor (Just Economics)
  • Stuart Mulholland (Welltree, Scotland)
  • Dr Tom Boland & Dr Ray Griffin (Waterford Institute of Technology)
  • Samara Jones (FEANTSA)
  • Joe Finnerty (University College Cork)
  • Young people affected by homelessness
  • National Youth Council of Ireland
  • Tusla

This event was attended by 120 key stakeholders and practitioners working in the area of youth homelessness – across all agencies, bodies and organisations. Researchers and students working on youth homelessness were also in attendance.

National conference limerick


This event was supported by Human Dignity Foundation .

Research Report Launches 2017

“Food Access and Nutritional Health among Families in Homeless Emergency Accommodation” – Report Launch August 2017

Focus Ireland: Research Report Launch - Food Access and Nutritional Health for Families in Emergency Accommodation Front Cover image

Nuala Ward (Director of Investigations, Ombudsman for Children) launched a report on food access and nutritional health of families living in emergency homeless accommodation. The report – which was led by Dr Michelle Share from the School of Education (Trinity College Dublin) – explores families’ everyday experiences of food routines and strategies in homeless accommodation and the impact this has had on the nutrition and health outcomes on both parents and their children. This research was funded by DCYA and Department of Health and commissioned by Focus Ireland.

“Living in Limbo: Homeless Young People’s Paths to Housing” – Report Launch 29th May 2017

Former President Mary McAleese launched Dr Paula Mayock and Sarah Parker’s (School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin) newly-published book “Living in Limbo” which details findings of a longitudinal study of young people experiencing homelessness. This study – which ‘tracks’ young people and their family members over time – marks a critical contribution to our understanding of youth homelessness in Ireland today. The report was funded by Focus Ireland, Simon Communities, Threshold, St Vincent de Paul, and Peter McVerry Trust. See the Irish Times news piece on the report here.

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Launch of Limerick Youth Housing Evaluation-  Report Launch 29 June 2017

Focus Ireland and Tusla co-launched an evaluation on Limerick Youth Housing which was conducted by Just Economics research consultants. The success of the project is seen to be linked to the effective and productive partnership approach between Focus Ireland, Tusla and Limerick City & County Council. It is hoped that Focus Ireland will be able to use the service as a model of good practice to be replicated elsewhere around the country through a partnership approach, as articulated in our recently-published Youth Housing Model.  There was extensive regional and national media coverage of the event, including RTE Drive Time and RTE News.

Previous Advocacy Events 2016

Advocacy Events in Partnership with School of Social Work and Social Policy (TCD)

Public evening event on “Preventing Homelessness: Lessons from Wales and Canada”- 28th June 2017 – Royal Irish Academy

Dr Peter Mackie (University of Cardiff), Melanie Redman (A Way Home, Canada) and Dr Steve Gaetz (Canadian Observatory of Homelessness) presented on homelessness prevention in Wales and Canada.

Focus Ireland 10th Annual Conference: “No Going Back- Building Sustainable Pathways out of Homelessness” – Tuesday 27th September 2016 – Aviva Stadium

Prof. Guy Johnson –

Keynote session: What can 80 Aussie’s tell us about Homelessness?

Ireland’s Forgotten Homeless: Youth Homelessness and Lessons from the Canadian Campaign to End Youth Homelessness’:

An Open Meeting Event with Prof Steve Gaetz (Homeless Hub), Melanie Redman (A Way Home: Working Together to End youth Homelessness) and Dr Paula Mayock (TCD). Chaired by Gordon Hill (National Youth Council of Ireland). This even took place on 28th June 2016 in the Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street.

‘Developing Housing First in Canada’ – Professor Tim Aubry

Professor Tim Aubry (At Home/Chez Soi Demonstration Project, University of Ottawa) gave a presentation on Housing First in Canada on 19th April 2016 in Trinity College Dublin.