Homeless charity helped 300 Limerick people in 2013

Homeless-teen FOCUS Ireland provided support to 229 people in Limerick in 2013 who were homeless or at risk of losing their homes, according to figures from the charity’s annual report.

In addition, a total of 70 households were also either prevented from losing their home or settled into a new home as part of Focus Ireland’s prevention and tenancy sustainment services, available at its advice and information centre on Catherine Street.

Focus Ireland’s service manager for Limerick Ger Spillane said: “There was a sharp 25 per cent increase in the number of people we supported last year as more people than ever were at risk of losing their home and the housing and homeless crisis deepened. Focus Ireland responded directly to this growing need by expanding our key advice and information services across the country to help prevent many families and people from losing their homes.”

Mr Spillane warned: “The rising demand for support is continuing as we have supported 8,000 people up to the end of June this year. We have families coming to us every day who have lost their home and in many cases the best we can do is get them into a B&B or hotel so they are off the streets.

“This is not acceptable. The government has said we have reached the limits of austerity and I believe the growing homeless crisis proves this. There must be urgent investment in building social housing now. Focus Ireland has called for an investment of €500 million in the budget to provide at least 3,000 homes and also much-needed jobs to help boost the economy.”

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Nationally, the charity supported more than 10,000 people last year – an increase of 25 per cent on 2012.

Focus Ireland says that there are still up to 5,000 people who are homeless, while just under 100,000 households remain on housing waiting listings nationwide.