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.
The Focus Ireland submission to the National Women's Strategy sought to ensure that the forthcoming strategy includes provisions specifically targeting women experiencing homelessness. In the document we examine the extent of women's homelessness, the distinct pathways of women into homelessness, and women's experiences of homelessness, including stigma and discrimination.
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’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 43 families who presented as homeless in the Dublin region during September 2016. Mirroring previous reports in this series, the findings in September highlight how landlords leaving the private rented sector are resulting in families becoming homeless. A quarter of all families consist of parents under the age of 25 years.
In the second half of 2016, there was a distinct positive shift in the pattern of rising family homelessness. While the total number of families which are homeless has continued to rise, the rate of increase has slowed significantly. This commentary looks at the data available on the entries and departures of families from homelessness to explore what is driving the changing pattern. In addition, the commentary attempts to assess whether the factors behind the deceleration represent a ‘turning of the tide’ or whether there is likely to be a return to a pattern of increases.
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.
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.