Focus Ireland calls for annual targets to end homelessness by 2030

‘The market never has and never will eliminate homelessness for those who can’t buy’

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, founder of the homeless charity Focus Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, founder of the homeless charity Focus Ireland. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

The founder of the homeless charity Focus Ireland has called on the Government to set annual targets to meet the pledge to end homelessness by 2030.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy made the call ahead of Tuesday’s release of the Focus Ireland Annual report which shows the charity helped record numbers of households in 2020.

The call also came in advance of International Homeless Day which is to take place on Sunday , October 10th.

The Focus Ireland Annual Report shows that in 2020 the charity helped a record number of 1,829 households to avoid homelessness or find a secure home.

In addition more than 1,359 households were supported to settle into a new home or assisted on a pathway towards sustaining an exit out of homelessness and a further 470 households were supported in keeping their homes.

Focus Ireland also ensured 880 families were supported out of homelessness and nearly 3,300 children were supported across their services.

According to CEO Pat Dennigan the charity was proud that “despite the challenges that the pandemic presented, we were able to support a record number of households to avert a risk of homelessness or move to a new secure home”.

He said one of “the remarkable features of the response to the pandemic was the renewed sense of collaboration and teamwork between NGOs, local authorities and health services.

“Solutions were found for previously intractable problems; red tape was cut and access to housing and safer emergency accommodation was fast-tracked. Together we ensured that fewer people who were homeless in Dublin suffered fewer deaths from COVID-19 than in almost any other major city.

“This renewed sense of partnership and trust are aspects that we need to retain, learn from and build on as we work together in the future with the shared goal of making homelessness a thing of the past.”

The report shows that during 2020:

- 12,300 people engaged with Focus Ireland services

- 430 young people were supported by Focus Ireland youth and aftercare services

- 275 adults were supported though Focus Ireland’s Preparation for Education Training and Employment programme

- More than 6,800 people were provided with advice and information.

Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy said “it was very positive to see the new Government strategy Housing For All include a commitment to end homelessness by 2030”.

However, she said it must be acknowledged previous policies by successive governments had been “far too market-driven and the market never has and never will eliminate homelessness or provide homes for the people who can’t afford to buy.”