Focus Ireland helped record 14,500 people at risk of homelessness in 2017

Focus Ireland helped a record number of 14,500 people at risk of homelessness in 2017, according to its latest report.

According to the charity, the government needs to give greater protection to tenants, build more housing and clamp down on empty homes in order to tackle the housing crisis.

Their annual report also says that there are 1,312 homeless families in Ireland, a 31% increase on the previous year.

Focus Ireland also reported that its housing wing, Focus Housing, provided an additional 184 homes last year under its strategy target to provide 600 more homes by 2020 to help tackle the growing homelessness crisis.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “I’m proud to say we have delivered 310 new homes over the last 2 years and are on the way to achieving our target of doubling our housing stock by 2020. By the end of 2017 Focus Ireland owned or managed a total of 981 homes for people who were homeless or at risk.”

The charity’s Annual Report 2017 was launched by its founder, Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, and Alex McGrath, who was formerly homeless and secured a home with the help of Focus Ireland and Dublin City Council.

Sr. Stan said: “We are in the middle of the worst homelessness crisis in living memory and it’s vital we speak about this and call for more to be done.

"However, it’s important to also speak about the success stories as these show homelessness can be ended. It also puts a human face to the dreadful figures. We must remember that we should not be distracted into squabbling about numbers."

"Of course we need reliable data but our main focus must always be the people and the solutions. How can we help to prevent them losing their homes or to find a new one?”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil is accusing the government of ''standing by and talking about'' the increasing rents in student accommodation instead of acting on it.

Deputy leader Dara Calleary called the Tanaiste ''the king'' of targets and promises, following the latest report by the Government's national strategy on the issue.

The report found that just under 3,000 bed-spaces have been built since the start of the year, with a further 7 thousand under construction.

Digital Desk

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