Friday 22 March 2019

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Cork Independent


Almost 200 sought support on Leeside

Wednesday, 18th July, 2018 5:11pm

Seven young people involved in youth education programmes, run by a homeless charity, are set to enroll in third level education at UCC and CIT this autumn.

This was revealed recently by Focus Ireland as it published its 2017 annual report.

Focus Ireland’s website includes up-to-date homelessness figures and case studies highlighting its work.

In one video, 28-year-old Mark from Cork explains why he credits Focus Ireland with helping him turn his life around.

The organisation provided support as he completed a diploma programme and secured accommodation that allowed him to regain joint custody of his children.

He will enroll in a degree programme in youth and community work at UCC in September.

The charity helped 191 people in Cork who were homeless or at risk of homelessness, according to the report.

Active in Cork since 2007, the non-profit organisation has seen Cork’s numbers of homelessness increase steadily over a decade.

The report showed that it helped a record 14,500 people nationally in 2017.

Locally, it provided housing, educational support, and advice and information services to 191 men and women.

Focus Ireland Cork Manager Ger Spillane spoke of the human toll reflected by rising homelessness figures and the need to keep this concern front and center in discussing homelessness.

He 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,” said Mr Spillane.

“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?”

The most recent government figures, from May 2018, show a total of 314 men and women homeless in Cork. This figure does not include children.

Mr Spillane said that the recent decline in available accommodation for people seeking housing assistance and social housing has made it harder to move out of homelessness.

He noted that Focus Ireland is calling on the government to take immediate steps to ease the homelessness crisis.

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