Our Advocacy Team campaigns for policy reform aimed at preventing individuals and families becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness. Critical to this task is the need to demonstrate the effectiveness of a particular policy and communicate that evidence to key audiences, such as the Oireachtas, national and local government, the statutory sector, other voluntary bodies and the public. Focus Ireland has submitted over 70 policy submissions to Government and relevant policy groups since 2000, as well as joint submissions in collaboration with other voluntary and statutory bodies.
Focus Ireland was invited to present before the Committee on Social Protection in relation to 'lone parents and homelessness'. Our written submission considers the existing data on one-parent families and homelessness, as well as the reasons these families are more at risk of homelessness. We outline the experience of one-parent families residing in emergency accommodation, and advance policy proposals we feel would help this cohort, as well as families more generally.
Focus Ireland held a briefing on family homelessness for members of the Oireachtas in November 2016. We presented on what happens when a family becomes homeless, the causes of family homelessness and what further action is needed to end the crisis.
Focus Ireland drafted a legislative amendment to the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2016. This amendment restricts the ability of buy to let landlords to terminate a tenancy on the basis that they are selling the property. The property can still be sold, but this must be done with the tenant in situ. Increasing numbers of families presenting to Focus Ireland services have received notices of termination because their landlord is selling the property. It is hoped that this amendment will keep individuals and families in secure accommodation, and prevent homelessness.
Focus Ireland’s research work aims to support and inform the organisation’s provision of housing and services to people out-of-home and its lobbying, campaigning, policy and education functions through the production of topical, relevant and methodologically-sound research.
This study presents key findings from a short quantitative survey conducted by telephone with 47 families who presented as homeless in the Dublin region during June 2016. The findings demonstrated that families entering homelessness are being squeezed out of an increasingly unaffordable private rented sector. There was a high proportion of migrant families and lone parent families, while 17 respondents reported that they became homeless due to their landlord selling the property.
This report is part of a H2020-funded European research project to promote social investment and runs from 2015-2019 across 13 countries. The Irish Re-Invest Project (based in NUI Maynooth) engaged with a core group of peer researchers who were Focus Ireland customers. Their research study captured how the effects of the economic crisis impacted on the quality of life among many in Ireland.
This study presents key findings from a short quantitative survey conducted by telephone with 70 families who presented as homeless in the Dublin region during March 2016. Three quarters of the sample reported that their last stable home was in the private rented sector. The majority were also in receipt of Rent Supplement during their last tenancy. The findings highlight the increased precariousness of the private rented sector for low income households.
Focus Ireland is committed to regular evaluations of its work and services. Evaluations help us to assess the quality and effectiveness of our work. The services we provide have continually been adapted to suit the changing needs of our customers and to provide the best possible services.
Focus Ireland’s ‘My Home, My Choice’ project – a project funded by Genio – was established in 2012. It supports individuals with a diagnosed mental health diagnosis and who are recognised as having a housing need by their local authority. Focus Ireland commissioned independent research consultancy Quality Matters to conduct a financial savings review of ‘My Home, My Choice’ project.
The Support to Live Independently (SLÍ) initiative is a visiting support service to those with low or moderate needs who have secured independent accommodation after leaving homeless services. The aims of the scheme are to support homeless people to move on from homelessness to living independently, and to assist with reintegration into the local community.
This service evaluation of Focus Ireland's Long-Term Supported Housing was conducted by the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York. The scope of the evaluation focuses on tenants residing in all congregate and clustered long-term supported housing run by Focus Ireland.