Focus Ireland is Ireland’s leading non-profit organisation, working to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness.
Founded by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy in the mid-1980s, Focus Ireland’s mission is “to advance the right of people-out-of-home to live in a place they call home through quality services, research, and advocacy“.
When it first opened its doors on Eustace Street in Dublin, the charity provided streetwork services including advice, advocacy, information and help with finding a home as well as a warm welcoming place to meet and have a low-cost meal. Since those early days, Focus Ireland has continued to grow and its research and advocacy work ensures that the rights of people who are experiencing homelessness remain on the political agenda. In addition to its Dublin projects, it now has services and housing projects across Ireland including in Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Sligo and Limerick.
Through its services across the country, Focus Ireland helps over 14,000 people facing homelessness every year. However, anyone who has glanced at an Irish newspaper in the last decade will be well aware that the country has been experiencing an extended and concentrated crisis around homelessness. Focus Ireland is conscious of this fact and recognises that homelessness cannot be ended by working just at the individual level, important as that is.
As such, Focus Ireland has recently detailed its restated vision for the next five years. The charity contends that;
“People become homeless because of wider challenges in our society – the weakness of our social safety-net, poverty, our inadequate mental health system, lack of addiction services, insecure tenancies and, perhaps most significantly, our failure to build a sufficient supply of affordable homes. Putting forward lasting solutions to these problems is the part of our work that we call ‘Challenging Homelessness’.
Under this strategy, Focus Ireland commits itself to closing those gaps by working in ever closer partnership with the whole range of organisations, departments, authorities, agencies, donor and citizens who share our commitment to tackling homelessness.”