Homelessness strategy needs major shift to end crisis – Focus

Homelessness strategy needs major shift to end crisis – Focus Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy

There needs to be a “significant shift” away from managing homelessness in favour of ending the crisis, the CEO of Focus Ireland has said.

Speaking at the official opening by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy of a 31-home development at Dublin’s John’s Lane West, Pat Dennigan said the charity is committed to working with the State and civic authorities to tackle and prevent homelessness.

“We believe that there needs to be a significant shift away from managing the issue of homelessness towards ending the crisis.  We are playing our part in achieving this by delivering homes like this today with the help of our supporters,” he said.

The development, which was built with the help of the Department of Housing, Dublin City Council, the Housing Finance Agency and donors to Focus Ireland, raises to over 500 the number of homes Focus has provided since 2015 in partnership with the State.

“This increased housing delivery by Focus Ireland  is a core part of our strategy and is playing a key part in our work challenging homelessness and changing lives,” Mr Dennigan said. “These homes here today are permanent homes which is so important with support where required by some households.  The individuals and families moving in now have a safe and secure place to call home.”

The Focus CEO explained that the site of the new development had last been used in the winter of 2014 when emergency hostel beds were provided there.

“There was some criticism when we closed the emergency beds to allow development work to begin but it was the right decision,” he said. “This site is a clear manifestation of our long-term vision and strategy. This strategy is built around prevention and providing people with a sustained exit from homeless.”

He added that while Focus and the Government may differ in terms of strategies for ending the homelessness crisis, it is vital to understand that much good work is being done every day to help people.

“This outstanding development at John’s Lane West is the firm proof of this. It is a good news story for all today,” he said.