Each month we shine a spotlight on a different family-centred Irish charity as part of our Charity of the Year series. For December 2021, we’re showcasing the great work of Focus Ireland. Read on to find out more.
What is Focus Ireland?
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.
Focus Ireland’s Values and Mission
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.”
How to Access Support from Focus Ireland
As mentioned above, Focus Ireland has centres around Ireland in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Kilkenny, Cork and Sligo. You can find the contact details for each of these centres by following this link.
If you need support in any area of housing or homelessness, Focus Ireland’s Advice & Information Service is here to help. They can provide:
- Advice on how to navigate the homeless system and ultimately find a home and exit homelessness
- Advice and information to prevent people from becoming homeless
- Support in accessing emergency accommodation or support while staying in emergency accommodation
- Advice and advocacy around housing and social welfare
- Information on services such as employment, education and health service
All Focus Ireland staff have a social care qualifications and specific accredited training in the provision of advice and information.
What Services Do Focus Ireland Offer?
Focus Ireland provides a range of services to help those facing homelessness including:
- The Coffee Shop – a Dublin restaurant providing nutritional, good-quality, affordable meals for homeless adults, in a safe and warm environment
- An aftercare service for young adults leaving the care system at 18
- The Caretakers Project which provides a focused service to young people under-18s, who are experiencing homelessness as a result of being unable to access Alternative Care Arrangements
- The Extension Service which is a service for young people (aged 18-26) experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness
- A youth mediation service – a homeless prevention service aimed at young people under 18, whose relationships with their carers are in danger of breaking down
How You Can Help Focus Ireland with a Christmas Jumper Day
Focus Ireland is inviting everyone to bring some Christmas cheer this year and host a Christmas Jumper Day to help raise much needed funds. This is a fun and exciting way to celebrate Christmas in your school/college/office or your virtual meeting! All while raising vital funds for those experiencing homelessness in Ireland.
Focus Ireland wants you to wear a Christmas Jumper or jingle your jumper with tinsel & lights and share your creations with your friends and colleagues.
Find out more about how you can join the festive fundraiser here.