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Every child should have a place to call home

Monday, 8th July, 2019 6:59am
Every child should have a place to call home

Every child should have a place to call home. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

Every child should have a place to call home

Every child should have a place to call home. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

Sister Stanislaus Kennedy

SUMMER always brings a sense of optimism as the days stretch longer with a few extra minutes each evening and hopefully we get some sunshine too. 

While most of us can look forward to enjoying the summer the harsh reality is that a lot of people are struggling in society. It can be hard for the people who are currently homeless in Ireland to be lifted by the spirit of summer, especially when you see the number rise to 10,253 (a 33 percent jump in two years). 

It is Focus Ireland’s job to offer hope and support to help them find a home. I am proud to say that we have helped over 400 families to secure a home last year and escape the nightmare of being homeless.  

Our Family Team in Dublin and services across Ireland work hard to secure a home for one or two families every day, in partnership with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and local authorities. However, sadly two to three more families became homeless every day so the crisis continues to deepen.

As a country we must cherish all of our children equally and ensure no child suffers from being homeless for long periods of time. We must work towards ensuring every child has a place to call home.

I am proud to say that Focus Ireland continues to develop realistic policy solutions to help end homelessness. We do this work through over 80 frontline services across the country and our commitment to building homes. While the crisis is continuing, the situation would be even worse without the vital services and housing we provide. 

I was delighted to recently attend the launch of Focus Ireland’s new housing unit in John’s Lane West which provides 31 homes in Dublin. The new apartment complex was built with great support from the Department of Housing, Dublin City Council as well as financial support from the Housing Finance Agency and also with some assistance by generous donors to Focus Ireland.

While Focus Ireland work with the Government in delivering homes like John’s Lane West, we must also acknowledge that their overall strategy is not working. There is no clear plan to tackle family homelessness; all it has is an outdated promise in Rebuilding Ireland and a stack of press statements. 

We urgently need a more ambitious strategy to tackle this issue. This includes actively building social housing, ensuring that bank restructuring does not come at the cost of mass homelessness, taxing those who hoard building land and protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction. 

I urge you to help our cause. Any donation will directly support these families and also help fund our work to prevent other families, children and individuals from becoming homeless in the first place. People can please donate at www.focusireland.ie or by phoning 1850 204 205.

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