Focus Ireland advocates for policy reform to prevent individuals and families becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness.


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.

Submission to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan

Ireland will receive €853 million in grants under the EU's Recovery and Resilience Facility in 2021 and 2022 to help us rebuild from the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of the consultation, Focus Ireland made a submission, outlining how housing must be central to the rebuilding efforts, moving us from investment in emergency homeless responses to increasing our stock of social housing.

Ensuring a Home for All Report

Ensuring a Home for All is a joint project with members of the Irish Homeless Policy Group, funded by the IHREC Grant programme. This project explored the Public Sector Duty as it applies to migrant households accessing housing and homeless supports from local authorities. The project identified barriers facing migrant households when seeking these supports and assessed the human rights and equality implications for this group.

Submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller Community

Focus Ireland welcomes the opportunity to engage with the Oireachtas Committee on Key Issues affecting the Traveller Community on access to housing for the Traveller Community. We made a submission outlining the key barriers and structural inequalities facing Travellers when seeking housing and homelessness supports.

Focus Ireland Budget 2021 - Recommendations to Government

Focus Ireland has called on the Government to invest in social housing delivery in Budget 2021 as part of a twin-track approach which will act to protect the most vulnerable and also help kick-start the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

Roadmap out of Homelessness Letter

Focus Ireland has written to the leaders of political parties calling for urgent development of a roadmap for housing and homelessness

Submission to Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on Access to Emergency Accommosation During the Covid-19 Pandemic

This submission aims is to provide some feedback on access to emergency accommodation to the DHPLG from the experience of Focus Ireland’s frontline advice and information service, as well as the Housing Law Clinic we operate with A&L Goodbody and Mercy Law Resource Centre.

Commentary on the Fine Gael/Fianna Fail Framework Document

Focus Ireland, with over thirty-five years of experience working to end homelessness, wants to make a constructive contribution to the debate about the formation and priorities of a new Government. The publication by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of a Framework Document marks a significant step in the public political debate, and we wanted to share our reflections, based on our front-line experience and independent research, with each of the political parties engaged in trying to form a Government, through this process or otherwise.

Factsheet on COVID-19 Housing Supports

This factsheet provides information on the housing supports available to people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Factsheet on the Covid-19 Moratoriums

This factsheet provides a summary of the COVID-19 emergency legislation and what it means for tenants and landlords.

Telephone Support for clients in Housing Services during the Covid-19 Pandemic

This guidance document for the Irish Housing First Hub draws on a document prepared by our Spanish colleagues in the European Housing First Hub, Hogar Sí, (formerly RAIS), to make recommendations for using telephone support during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Understanding the December 2019 Homeless Figures: Part 2

Following on from our detailed analysis of the December 2019 homeless figures, this paper will look at the emerging trends indicated by the January 2020 data published by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) in February

Focus Ireland Five point plan to tackle the housing & homelessness crisis

In recent months Focus Ireland put forward five proposals which we believe should form a framework for responding to the housing and homeless crisis. We asked each political party to include these points in their Election Manifesto. Now since the General Election we have drafted this 5-point plan and are calling for these proposals to be included in the next Programme For Government.

Analysing the December 2019 homeless figures: Part 1

December saw the largest monthly drop in the number of people in emergency accommodation since figures started being recorded in 2014. Both in numerical (-717) and percentage (-7%) terms, this is an unusually large decrease from November’s report. This paper looks into where this decrease is coming from and what is driving it.

Focus Ireland Analysis of Party Manifestos: General Election 2020

In the run up to the General Election, Focus Ireland put forward five proposals which we believe should form a framework for responding to the housing and homeless crisis, and which we asked each party to include in their Election Manifesto. This document reviews the manifestos of the seven largest parties to see to what extent these issues are addressed

Pre-Budget Submission 2020 Policy Document

This is Focus Ireland’s Pre-Budget Submission policy document which outlines our key recommendations required to turn the tide of homelessness. This document was submitted to the relevant Government departments recently.

Pre-Budget Submission 2020 Public Document

This is Focus Ireland’s concise Pre-Budget Submission public document which outlines 10 key recommendations required to turn the tide of homelessness. Focus Ireland submitted our full range of Budget proposals in more detail to the Government recently and these can also be accessed on this page.

Proposal for a Commission on Housing

This document, agreed by a group with a high level of expertise and experience, proposes the establishment of a Commission on Housing in Ireland. This proposal outlines the changes that have made a Commission on Housing necessary as well as the suggested terms of reference for such a Commission.

Focus Ireland response to Office of the Children’s Ombudsman report ‘No Place Like Home’

Focus Ireland welcomes the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) No Place Like Home report as a valuable and insightful contribution to the debate on responding to the needs of families who are homeless. Our response considers the scope of the report and makes recommendations based on the actions to be prioritised based on the findings of the report.

Focus Ireland submission to the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning & Local Government: Family & Child Homelessness

Focus Ireland welcomes the opportunity to attend the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government to discuss family and child homelessness. This submission outlines our concerns about family hubs based on the findings from the Ombudsman for Children’s report.

Delivering on Social Housing: What Councillors Can Do

The key to tackling the housing and homelessness crisis is to increase access to – and delivery of – social housing along with affordable and secure rental accommodation. In the 2019 Local Elections, Focus Ireland is calling on councillors to take a local lead in ensuring that appropriate standards are in place in their own local areas.

Establishing Guidelines for Local Authority Staff responding to families who are homeless

In the absence of a national framework setting out how homeless families should be responded to, Focus Ireland is calling on councillors to take a local lead in ensuring that appropriate standards are in place in their own local areas.

5 Ways You Can #StandUpForHomelessPeople

With at least 700,000 people experiencing homelessness throughout Europe FEANTSA are calling on future MEPS to help end homelessness and support the pledge to #Standupforhomelesspeople

Housing Rights & Homelessness: lessons from a pro bono partnership

This report details an innovative housing law clinic operated from the Focus Ireland service in Temple Bar. The housing law clinic is a partnership between Focus Ireland, A&L Goodbody, and Mercy Law Resource Centre which was supported and facilitated by the Public Interest Law Alliance. It consists of legal advice given at weekly clinics and follow up legal representation.

Submission on Proposals to Modernise the Electoral Registration Process

Focus Ireland welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Department’s consultation on the proposed reform of the electoral registration process. We believe that the consultation is an important step in modernising our electoral registration process and that many of the proposals continued within are positive.

Focus Ireland Review of 2018

2018 will see Focus Ireland work with over 15,000 people. Across Ireland 2018 has proven to be an even more difficult year for those experiencing homelessness. This year is seeing the largest ever increase in family homelessness. While a significant number of individuals and families have been supported to move on from homelessness, there have been a number of challenges that has seen homelessness increase again this year to new record highs. This review provides an outline of homelessness in Ireland in 2018.

Focus Ireland Response to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government Report on the Categorisation of Emergency Accommodation in Monthly Homeless Reports. (Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee)

The decision to remove over 1,600 people from the official homeless statistics undermined public confidence in the accuracy of housing and homeless statistics, reduced the credibility of important Government initiatives to tackle this national crisis, reduced our capacity to understand the changing nature of the crisis and distracted policy resources from issues of substance. These problems have been created as much by the piecemeal, unilateral manner in which the changes have been implemented as the changes themselves. The Department’s Report on the Categorisation of Emergency Accommodation in Monthly Homeless Reports does little to correct this damage or explain the rationale behind it.

Commentary on the HAIG and DRHE reports

Observations on the Homelessness Inter-Agency Group’s Report to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive’s Report to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Pre-Budget Submission 2019 Public Document

This is Focus Ireland’s concise Pre-Budget Submission public document which outlines 14 key recommendations required to turn the tide of homelessness. Focus Ireland submitted our full range of Budget proposals in more detail to the Government in recently and these can also be accessed on this page.

Pre-Budget Submission 2019 Policy Document

Budgetary allocations are only one dimension of the actions we need to take to end the housing and homeless crisis. There are many actions that require reform of processes and legislation and Focus Ireland has addressed these aspects in other submissions and statements. In our 2019 Pre-Budget Submission we have, as much as is possible, concentrated on areas where we believe progress is being held back because of lack of finance, or where finance is required before the other barriers can be addressed.

Submission to the review of Department of Housing homeless figures

Recent Homelessness Figures have been produced which have excluded a number of households, it appears the majority because of the type of emergency accommodation they are accommodated in. Following this the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy TD, has indicated that a review is being undertaken in relation to the methodology for compiling the official statistics on homelessness. Focus Ireland believe that regular, reliable and transparent data on homelessness is essential both for national policy and practice, but also for our own understanding of the impact of our services. We have participated actively in all previous reviews of how homeless statistics are collated, and in that light, put forward a submission for consideration by the Minster and his department during the current review.

Submission to the Law Reform Commission

Focus Ireland believes that the current legislative framework underpinning homeless services is outdated and does not adequately protect the most vulnerable. In this submission to the Law Reform Commission, we outline the elements of the legislation which we believe should be amended, as well as areas where additional legal protection may be needed.

Submission to the DCYA review of the Child Care Act

Focus Ireland welcomes the review of the Child Care Act 1991. Our experience shows us that in order for children to be safe and protected, their rights must be enumerated in legislation and those rights must be respected by all those involved in decision-making which impacts the child. Our submission to DCYA calls for an increased emphasis on prevention and early intervention, improved aftercare planning and provision, and support for children experiencing homelessness with their families.

Impact of Dublin City Council Scheme of Lettings on the Homeless Crisis

In response to a recent proposal to remove homelessness as a priority ground in the DCC Scheme of Letting Priorities, the Advocacy team have drafted this memo outlining our concerns about the proposal. These concerns are based on our experience as the city’s designated Family Homeless Action Team and over two decades working with the majority of homeless families. We recommend that the proposed changes be put on hold while their likely impact is assessed by an independent expert on homelessness.

Policy Note on International Homelessness

In response to recent comments that homelessness in Ireland is low by international standards, the Advocacy team have developed this short briefing to distill the debate about how homelessness is measured and compared across countries. Focus Ireland has always claimed that homelessness is too high, that it could be much lower, and that is has increased significantly in recent years.

Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing

The Special Rapporteur on Housing sought submissions on designing and implementing effective human rights-based housing strategies. In this document we provide some insights into the current situation in Ireland and the human rights limitations of current strategies.

Submission to Ireland 2040

The Focus Ireland submission to the National Planning Framework argues that Ireland 2040 provides the opportunity to develop a roadmap for a national housing market that creates sustainable communities and services our entire society.

Pre-Budget Submission 2018 Public Document

This is Focus Ireland’s concise Pre-Budget Submission public document which outlines 10 key actions required to turn the tide of homelessness. Focus Ireland submitted our full range of Budget proposals in more detail to the Government in recent months and these also be accessed on this page.

Pre-Budget Submission 2018 Policy Document

Focus Ireland believes that Budget 2018 will be an important marker as to whether the current minority Government has the resolve to end homelessness. Our submission sets out a series of effective measures with budgetary implications across the range of Government Departments which play a role in tackling the causes and effects of homelessness.

Submission to the LGBTI Youth Strategy

In order to tackle youth homelessness, we need to understand the pathways of young people into services, and their experiences. Research from other jurisdictions has shown that LGBT young people are over-represented in youth homelessness statistics. Focus Ireland's submission to the first LGBTI Youth Strategy advocates for research funding and an examination of youth service provision.

Submission to the Review of Rebuilding Ireland

Given the current homelessness crisis, Focus Ireland welcomed the review of the Government's action plan, Rebuilding Ireland. Our submission calls for the State to take a much more direct role in delivering solutions. We also argue that any revised strategy should set out a clear vision to end homelessness within a specific timeframe.

Submission to Review of Rent Predictability Measures

Focus Ireland welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the review of recently introduced rent predictability measures and the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ). Our submission responds to a number of questions posed by the Department and outlines some concerns about the implementation of the measures.

Submission to the Public Consultation on Tax and Fiscal Treatment of Landlords

A high proportion of people facing homelessness previously resided in the private rented sector and this sector will continue to play a significant role in the Irish housing market into the future. Our submission sets out our analysis of current issues with the sector, and recommendations for improvement.

Focus Ireland Youth Housing: A Partnership Approach to Tackle Youth Homelessness

Focus Ireland, and others, are providing many vital services in cooperation with the State and Local Authorities. This document articulates the Focus Ireland Youth Housing Model which guides our approach to tackling youth homelessness. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that young people are prevented from becoming homeless or supported out of homelessness as quickly as possible.

Education and Disadvantage in Ireland: Measuring Impact of Focus Ireland's 'Education Matters' Programme

Research has long established a relationship between socio-economic factors and homelessness, and as both cause and consequence of educational disadvantage. This paper aims to locate Focus Ireland's 'Education Matters' programme within the broader context of policy and practice to tackle educational disadvantage. This feeds into the organisation's approach in implementing a programme of monitoring and evaluation to capture outcomes and impact.

Submission to the National Women's Strategy

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.

Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection

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.

Oireachtas Briefing Note on Family Homelessness

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.

Legislative Amendment (Buy to Let Landlords)

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.

Submission to the Review of the "National Policy and Procedures for Aftercare"

Focus Ireland's submission to the review of the Aftercare policy and procedure is based on the experience of services across the country, and is drawn from daily engagement with young people. The document outlines the gaps, blocks and issues in the implementation of the policy.

Focus Ireland Submission on the Rental Sector

Focus Ireland sets out a range of measures needed to create a viable and sustainable private rental market. The Department of Housing requested submissions on Pillar 4 of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan and aims to release a comprehensive rental strategy before the end of 2016. Focus Ireland recommends increasing tenant security by indexing rent increases, creating longer tenancies and limiting the ability of landlords to sell with vacant possession.

Focus Ireland Submission to the Department of Social Protection in respect of Budget 2017

The Department of Social Protection invited submissions in advance of their Pre-Budget Forum, which took place on Friday, 22nd July 2016. Focus Ireland's submission refers to basic social welfare rates and the need to protect young people leaving care from homelessness. We also advocate for preventative policies in respect of people leaving direct provision and single parents. Our full Pre-Budget Submission will include broader fiscal policy recommendations.

Focus Ireland Submission to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have been tasked with drafting the chapter of the Action Plan which deals with Children and Youth Homelessness. Focus Ireland sets out a range of measures needed to support children who are homeless with their families, as well as young people and children who are homeless on their own. These include ring-fenced social housing for care-leavers and additional educational welfare supports for children in emergency accommodation.

Focus Ireland Submission to the Government Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness

Following the publication of the Committee on Housing and Homelessness' report, Focus Ireland sets out additional measures required. This submission includes an emphasis on prevention and the importance of the 50% social housing allocation for households that are homeless or otherwise vulnerable.

Focus Ireland Submission to the Department of Education and Skills

The Department of Education invited submissions on the development of the Strategy for Education and Skills 2016-2018. Focus Ireland outlines policy changes which we believe would support children and young people and enable them to achieve their potential while experiencing homelessness. We advocate for funding to enable children to attend their school of choice and increased investment in nutrition.

Focus Ireland Submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness

Focus Ireland sets out a range of measures which can be introduced immediately to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis – some of them having immediate effect while others will take time to have impact. The submission deals primarily with issues directly related to housing, but notes that a wider range of measures, including measures related to mental health, drugs policy, justice and domestic violence, are required for a comprehensive approach to homelessness.

Focus Ireland's 5 Point Plan

Focus Ireland’s 5 Point Plan to tackle the housing & homeless crisis has been issued to all party leaders calling for its inclusion in the next Programme For Government. These plan includes demands calling for the next Government to set a firm target date for ending family homelessness and also a commitment to build 40,000 social homes over the next 5 years.

Focus Ireland Manifestos Proposal Document – Election

Focus Ireland has lobbied all parties and key independents in recent months and submitted a comprehensive policy document to each outlining actions that need to be taken by each Government Minister in the next Government. This document breaks down the specific actions required to be taken by each Department in order to end long-term homelessness.

Focus Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2016

Our submission in advance of Budget 2016. Focus Ireland has said the Government can take action in the coming Budget to dramatically cut the record number of families losing their homes and becoming homeless every month. The charity made the claim as it launched its Pre-Budget Submission as its figures show a record total of 83 families became homeless in August in Dublin.

Focus Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2015

The Focus Ireland submission in advance of Budget 2015 advocates for measures to increase housing supply by incentivising landlords and investing capital in the construction of properties. we also argue that the rapid increase in family homelessness is caused by spiralling rents. We advocate for increased rent supplement caps and rent regulation.

Focus Ireland Pre-Budget Submission 2014

Our submission to the Government in advance of Budget 2014 focuses on protecting social services following repeated cut-backs during the recession. We also advocate for targeted stimulus investment to help create jobs and address social needs. We note that homeless services must be protected as the number of people experiencing homelessness continues to increase.