Focus Ireland pleads for help as calls double

Focus Ireland has made an urgent appeal for donations after a doubling of calls for help from the Cork region.

The housing and homeless charity said it has seen an 18% rise nationwide in the number of people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home, coming to them for help.

But demand for their services in the Cork region alone has surged this year from 20 calls a month to 40.

Gerard Spillane, manager of the charity’s Cork service, said they are now seeing more people at serious risk of losing their homes due to the impact of the recession.

“It’s highly concerning to see the rise in the number of families becoming homeless,” he said.

“In the first six months of this year alone in Cork, we have gone from taking 20 new enquiries a month to 40 — there is a constant increase of people calling us.”

The spike in demand comes against the backdrop of a continued fall in the charity’s funding income.

Focus Ireland gets two-thirds of its funding from the State but must raise the remainder from public donations and corporate support. Mr Spillane said the charity will not be able to cope with the massive spike in demand next year without public donations.

“People can rest assured that 90c of every euro raised is spent directly on services to combat and prevent homelessness,” he said

Focus Ireland has, so far this year, supported 9,237 people who were homeless or at risk of losing their home, compared to 7,819 people during the same period last year.

There has also been a 43% increase in the number of people seeking the charity’s housing advice services to prevent them losing their homes — from 2,973 between January and October last year to 4,248 people in the same period this year.

“Prevention is cheaper than cure and so we need increased investment in our housing advice service across the country to help people at risk of homelessness,” Mr Spillane said.

* www.focusireland.ie or call 1850 204 205.

* You can drop in to Focus Ireland Cork at 80a Hibernian House, South Mall, Cork (just beside the Imperial Hotel) or tel: 021-4251731.


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