This Christmas, we've teamed up with Focus Ireland to share some of the incredible stories from people who have experienced homelessness. In the first nine months of 2018 Focus Ireland helped more than 13,000 people, a 6% rise in a year. Focus Ireland prevents people from experiencing homelessness and helps those impacted by homelessness to find a stable home. These are the personal stories, from childhood to adulthood, of loss, poverty, resilience and hope. We thank sincerely all those who have chosen to share their stories.
Right now there are around 1,000 people between the ages of 18 and 24 homeless in Ireland. Many of these young people have lived much or all of their lives in state care. They have no families to support them, no home to return to when they leave care and very little support network to guide them.
"I want to tell you my story backwards, starting with the happy ending. I’ve been through so much in my life, but I want you to know that I am so much happier now and I’m in a good place"
Rachel was one of these young people who turned to Focus Ireland for support 3 years ago and managed to turn a corner in her life and start again.
"So, today I am writing this in my own house – which I was able to get with the help of Focus Ireland. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, and my little boy is running around in the garden outside, kicking a football and screaming happily (well, mostly!).”
“...I wake up every morning and thank God for what I have...I am full of hope.”
“My childhood was tough. Looking back I was a very anxious and frightened child. I was just 16 when I got pregnant with my son. I needed help.”
A few years ago, Rachel was expecting her first child, homeless, full of fear for the future and feeling completely alone. That was before she reached out for help and was supported by Focus Ireland to get back on her feet.
“After my little boy was born, Focus Ireland came into my life. With their help I found a safe place for me and my son to stay. In the beginning I was still so full of fear and anxiety. I thought I was a terrible mother and still questioned myself about the kind of future I could provide for my son. But, everyone at Focus Ireland was amazing...”
Focus Ireland provides one-on-one advice, support and guidance.
From January to September 2018, Focus Ireland have worked with 456 young people (aged 18-24) including with Aftercare support when they leave state care, housing and support services.
Focus Ireland have provided 171 young people with housing this year, either through short or longer term accommodation.
Young people are at particular risk of homelessness during a housing crisis, with private landlords, social housing bodies and local authorities less likely to rent to them. Given that nearly 2/3 young people experiencing homelessness are in the Dublin area, it comes as no surprise that youth homelessness is increasing as the number of properties available to rent long-term is decreasing.
Focus Ireland strives to help them with their own specific case and circumstances. They make sure that the individual is always aware of the rights and have the help that they need, and give young people, like Rachel, a chance of a bright and secure future.
Every 8 hours a family is made homeless in Ireland. Together we can change this. Please help today by visiting focusireland.ie to make a donation, calling 1850 204 205 or Focus Ireland's Instagram. Visit our hub for more information.
Note: All imagery sourced from stock.