Lunchtime talks are open to all. Please RSVP using the links provided.
Dates for the 2019 series of Lunchtime Talks have been confirmed as the following:
Speakers will be announced in due course.
Venue*: George’s Hill Chapel, 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 2019
Previous Talks & Events
Lunchtime talk Wednesday 26th of June – “Youth Homelessness: A Roadmap to Prevention” – Melanie Redman (A Way Home Canada) and Dr Steve Gaetz (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and Homeless Hub)
There is a growing recognition across the world that effective preventive measures should have a role to play in how we respond to homelessness. In this presentation, Stephen Gaetz and Melanie Redman discuss how the prevention of youth homelessness is being conceptualized and put in to practice in Canada. Through the Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness, they provide a definition and typology of youth homelessness prevention, populated with practical examples from around the world. From there, they moved to how this shift to prevention is being operationalized through their Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, and how this work nurtures strong interconnections between research, policy and practice.
Thursday 13th of June – Report Launch of “Family Homelessness in Dublin: Causes, Housing Histories and the Search for a New Home”
This new report on the key drivers and dynamics of family homelessness details the findings from surveys with 237 families residing in emergency accommodation in Dublin.
The data shows for a majority of families, the root cause of their homelessness is due to having to leave a private rented accommodation and the most commonly-cited reason is due to landlords withdrawing their property from the market. The majority of families who are experiencing homelessness report notably stable housing histories in the past with lengthy and successful tenancies in the rental sector. However, when trying to look for alternative accommodation after receiving a notice of termination from their landlord, families are at high risk of housing precariousness for sometimes lengthy periods.
Lone mothers, migrants (parents originally born outside of Ireland), lone parents and members of the Travelling community face a disproportionate risk to family homelessness. While a majority of families are actively attempting to exit homelessness, the difficulties in sourcing affordable and stable private rented accommodation can be profound.
This report marks the latest publication of Focus Ireland ‘Insights into Family Homelessness Series’ which seeks to inform design of delivery of services working with families at risk or experiencing homelessness, but also, to inform the wider debate on family homelessness.
The full report is available here and the executive summary is available here.
Wednesday 17th of April: Last Resort: Vulnerabilities, Resilience and Quality of Life in a Homeless Shelter Population – Joe Finnerty, Lecturer in the School of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork
Joe Finnerty presented findings from Last Resort, a study based on 69 one-to-one interviews conducted over an eighteen-month period with 24 men and 12 women staying at Cork Simon’s emergency shelter, using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods.
The research report identifies respondents’ routes into homelessness, explores some of the vulnerabilities implicated in these routes, and how these vulnerabilities were exacerbated by precarity in rental housing and labour markets. The research also highlights how their experiences of stays in emergency accommodation have compounded their vulnerabilities, particularly around social exclusion and stigma, morale and aspirations for the future, and the challenges of finding independent accommodation.
The report is available here.
Wednesday 20th of March: The Family Foster Care System in Ireland – Professor Robbie Gilligan, Trinity College Dublin
92% of children in care in Ireland are placed in families, making Ireland a world leader in the use of family placement for children in care. This presentation explored some of the key features of the Irish foster care system. It also reflected on the Irish story of de-institutionalisation – how the care system moved from heavy reliance on residential care to one so dominated by foster care. The implications emerging from this paper will offer lessons to the homeless sector – a sector which is expanding rapidly in terms of the number of congregate facilities rather than undergoing a similar process of de-institutionalisation seen in foster care and other areas of social policy.
Wednesday 27th February 2019 – Homeless young people making sense of ‘family’ and family relationships: Implications for service provision and practice – Dr Paula Mayock & Sarah Parker, Trinity College Dublin
This talk examined the meanings attached to ‘family’ and family relationships by homeless youth based on selected findings from a qualitative longitudinal study. It focused on their meaning-making processes with particular attention to the ways in which ‘family’ is produced and (re)negotiated in their lives over time. Four themes were presented – family as reliable and supportive; family as interrupted and ‘broken’; family as fragile and elusive; family as fluid and ambiguous – revealing the unfolding nature of young people’s constructions of family and family relationships. The enduring impact of separation, dislocation and conflict on how young people ‘make sense’ of familial experiences was discussed and we concluded with the practice implications arising from the findings.
Focus Ireland set up its mediation services in collaboration with Tusla in response to previous research undertaken by Paula Mayock, whose research identified family conflict with parents and carers as key factors leading to a pattern of young people moving in and out of home and in many cases leading to long-term homelessness. To date, the mediation services have been very successful in helping young people and their families resolve conflict, precipitating a return home for those young people who had presented to services and preventing presentations in other cases where this was a likely outcome if no intervention had occurred.
Thursday 7th January 2019 – Focus Ireland Research Launch: Brighter Futures for Care Leavers
A Consultation on Outcomes and Aftercare for Young People Leaving Care in Ireland.
Jo Dixon, Jade Ward and Mike Stein were commissioned by Focus Ireland to undertake a consultation with care experienced young people and aftercare workers to explore the scope for developing an aftercare framework to support outcomes and services provision.
The messages and findings that emerged from the consultation with young people and aftercare workers provides a snapshot of aftercare experiences and support and highlight some of the strengths and the gaps in aftercare preparation and support for young people leaving care in Ireland.
This study is available here.
Thursday 13th December 2018 – Focus Ireland Research Launch: “Young Families in the Homeless Crisis: Challenges and Solutions”
Dr Sharon Lambert (UCC) has led on a research study (commissioned by Focus Ireland) focusing on the experience of young people who are living in emergency accommodation with their children. The study focuses specifically on those young people who became homeless as a result of new family formation, and who lived in their family home before presenting as homeless. Their routes into homelessness, their experiences of services and the various barriers they face in exiting to stable housing are all explored in this report. A number of stakeholders were also interviewed to inform the research findings. The abridged report is available here.
Wednesday 12th December 2018 – HOMELESSNESS & DATA TRENDS IN IRELAND – 2014 to recent trends in 2018
‘Recent Trends in Homelessness in Ireland’. In analysing statistical reports on adults and child dependents experiencing homelessness published by Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Prof. Eoin O’Sullivan presented trends in both the prevalence and profile of individuals and families experiencing homelessness across Ireland from 2014 to 2018. The presentation also considered the recent reclassification of households in the monthly snapshot of adults in emergency accommodation, and recent expenditure on services for those experiencing homelessness.
Wednesday 14th November 2018 – Leaving Well Digital Tool: Tracking Outcomes among Care Leavers
In this presentation, Ashni Shah and Hannah Jump from Social Finance UK presented research that led to the development of an app that supports young people leaving care.
Across the UK and Ireland, more than 11,000 young people leave foster and residential care every year. The data collected on these young people is currently very limited, making it difficult to understand the causes of these outcomes and how to improve them. Leaving Well was set up by Social Finance in 2014. Since then they have researched the leaving care system to understand how it can be improved.
Based on their research, they developed a digital tool which aims to improve the support that young people receive – working with personal advisers and young people to develop every feature in the tool. The tool: (i) gives young people a platform to express their voice and ambitions, (ii) enables personal advisers to spend more time with young people, and (iii) provides managers with information on their services. This can be used to identify areas which should be improved.
About Social Finance: Social Finance is a not for profit organisation that partners with the government, the social sector and the financial community to find better ways of tackling entrenched social problems. Since starting in 2007, Social Finance has helped to pioneer a series of programmes to improve outcomes for individuals with complex needs. Their innovations, including the Social Impact Bond model, have mobilised more than £500 million globally. They have sister organisations in the US, Israel and India and a network of partners across the world. In the UK, their work includes support for 2,000 short sentence offenders released from Peterborough Prison, 700 children on the edge of care in Essex and London, 4,500 young people at risk of dropping out of school, 3,000 isolated older people, 2,500 people with severe mental health issues, and 1,400 homeless youth and rough sleepers.
Thursday 1st November 2018 – Research Launch: Are you still ok? – housing tenancy sustainment among Focus Ireland customers
To better understand the longer-term impact of our services, Focus Ireland embarked on a unique and innovative programme to verify whether tenancies which were in place among customers at the time they disengaged from Focus Ireland services were still in place six months later. This research details the level of tenancy sustainment among our customers while also exploring their housing concerns, perceptions of housing security, and service satisfaction. The data was collected over the course of 2017 through monthly telephone surveys with customers and was conducted by a team of three peer researchers – people who have themselves had lived experience of homelessness and have now trained as researchers.
The report is available here.
Wednesday 17th October 2018 – Profiling Barriers to Social Inclusion in Ireland: the relative roles of individual characteristics and location
The October lunchtime talk event was presented by Seamus McGuinness who is a Research Professor in the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin.
In this presentation, Professor McGuinness examined which Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) participants are most likely to experience at least one of five barriers to social inclusion, which are described as belonging to a jobless household, lone parenthood, disability, homelessness and belonging to an ethnic minority.
Tuesday 18th September 2018 – Public Lecture – Recent Trends in Homelessness in Australia – Trinity College Dublin and Focus Ireland Event
The School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin and Focus Ireland held a public lecture in Trinity College featuring Jenny Smith (Council for the Homeless, Victoria) on “Recent Trends in Homelessness in Australia”. Jenny Smith is the CEO of the Council to Homeless Persons which is the peak body for Victoria’s specialist homelessness sector.
Wednesday 12th September 2018 – Homeless Services Users’ Recovery Experiences in Eight European Countries: First findings from “Homelessness as Unfairness”
The September lunchtime talk was presented by Dr Ronni Greenwood, a Social-Community Psychologist and Lecturer in the Psychology Department at University of Limerick.
In this presentation, Dr. Greenwood described the Horizon2020-funded project “Homelessness as Unfairness”. This interdisciplinary project takes a capabilities approach to understanding homelessness as an extreme form of social inequality. The aim is to gain insight into national and local policies, citizens’ attitudes, characteristics of homeless services organizations, and service users’ experiences. At the end of the project, they aim to synthesize the findings into a set of recommendations for EU policy and action to end homelessness. Dr. Greenwood focused on the first findings from the Service Users component of this project. They compared recovery outcomes of 573 homeless services who were either enrolled in Housing First or traditional services users in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. The first cross-sectional findings indicate that Housing First is associated with more positive recovery indicators across different political, economic, and social contexts. Implications of findings for policy and practice were discussed.
Wednesday 27th June 2018 – The prevalence of major mental illness, substance misuse and homelessness in Irish prisoners: systematic review and meta-analyses
The June lunchtime talk was presented by Dr. Noreen Keating, Senior Registrar in General Adult Psychiatry, North Tipperary Mental Health Services.
This research highlights that the Irish prison population are at increased risk of various morbidities, namely major mental illness, substance misuse and homelessness. In this light, the authors highlight that there is a need for service development nationally, in particular the development of diversion services and the consideration of integrated treatment plans addressing the psychiatric and psychosocial need.
Wednesday 16th May 2018 – Peer Research Involvement in Homeless Services
Peer research has emerged as a popular method of participatory social research. Broadly speaking, it is research that is guided and conducted by people with lived experience of the issue being studied, produced in collaboration with academic researchers. Focus Ireland employs a team of three peer researchers with lived experience of homelessness to assist in the tracking and monitoring of tenancy sustainment of customers after they disengage from services. This presentation, co-produced between Focus Ireland Research Officers and the peer researchers themselves, reflected on the process of becoming peer researchers and the challenges and opportunities that arise over this time.
Wednesday 11th April 2018 – Homeless Service Use in the Dublin Region 2017
Bernie O’Donoghue Hynes, Head of Research in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, presented the 2017 year end data for the Dublin Region relating to the full range of services provided for singles and families experiencing homelessness. This included 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.
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.
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.
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.