Focus Ireland aids record of 13,500 people who received assistance from the charity

A record 13,500 people received assistance from the homeless charity Focus Ireland last year.

New housing minister Eoghan Murphy said that the deadline to end the use of emergency accommodation for homeless families by the end of this month — made by his predecessor Simon Coveney — will not be met.

He said that the 650 families affected will be moved into family hubs, other accommodation or they will be notified of where they are going over the next few weeks.

Mr Murphy also confirmed an extra €10m has been made available for the family hub programme, which will allow for another 200 families to go into such accommodation.

In its annual report for 2016, Focus Ireland revealed that 480 households were helped out of homelessness — up by 16% on 2015.

A total of 71 people were assisted in leaving care by providing them with a safe place to live, while Focus Ireland served more than 40,000 meals to those in need.

It owns or leases 820 housing units — 175 of these provide temporary accommodation and 645 provide long-term homes.

Focus Ireland assisted 13,500 people in 2016 which is an increase of 8% from the 12,500 it supported the previous year.

Mr Murphy launched the report as he opened the charity’s new 28-unit housing development at Harold’s Cross in Dublin.

The development, at Greenmount Close, provides 28 new homes for people who are elderly or have disabled needs and were previously homeless or at risk.

The land for the housing was donated by the Sisters of Charity and the project was funded by the Department of Housing.

The chairman of Focus Ireland, Gerry Danaher, said the new homes have been provided under the charity’s strategy target to provide 600 more homes by 2020 to help tackle the growing homeless crisis.

“While we recognise the need for decent short-term emergency accommodation for families, however, let us be clear — no form of emergency accommodation provides a home or an end to homelessness for any family or individuals,” he said. “At present there is no timeframe in place so these families know there is a clear end in sight for the trauma of homelessness they are currently going through each day.”

Mr Murphy has been tasked with completing a review of Mr Coveney’s ‘Rebuilding Ireland’ plan within three months.


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