Focus Ireland teams up with Citizens Information Service to tackle Homelessness
Focus Ireland has launched a new Information Guidebook which aims to help advice and information workers nationwide to stem the growing problem of homelessness and aid work to support thousands at risk of losing their homes. There has been a surge in the numbers of housing and homelessness queries by families and individuals in crisis nationwide.
Focus Ireland has teamed up with the key provider of information across the country, the Citizens Information Service who will distribute the new resource through its network of 106 Citizens Information Centres and 162 outreach services around the country. Focus Ireland also hopes the guide will be used in Family Resource Centres, Garda stations and Community Centres.
The guidebook is aimed at frontline general advice givers in advice and community centres across the country who increasingly find themselves dealing with such requests . The resource will be a big help in their vital work helping those in desperate need of housing assistance.
Tony McQuinn, CEO, CIB joined Minister Jan O'Sullivan at the launch of the new information booklet – A Guide to Information Givers on Preventing Homelessness. He said: "Citizens Information Services have experienced a surge in the numbers of clients with housing problems related to financial issues. In 2013 there were 58,000 housing queries to Citizens Information Services nationally in addition to 20,000 queries related to Rent Supplement. The booklet will support information advisors in CISs and money advisors in MABS in assisting individuals and families who come to our services who may be homeless or at risk of losing their homes" whilst Minister O'Sullivan noted that "tackling homelessness requires action on three broad fronts – prevention, increased housing supply and reform of how we do things."
Mark Byrne, Acting CEO of Focus Ireland said: "The combination of escalating rents, rent allowance caps and unwillingness among many landlords to accept rent supplement, is forcing more lower income households out of the housing market. However, we know through our work that it's possible to help families and individuals from losing their home through early intervention and support. This new guidebook will play a part in helping efforts to prevent homelessness at a local level nationwide in areas where there is currently no specialty housing advice service."
Focus Ireland and other specialist organisations are working hard to prevent and tackle homelessness through a range of targeted services, and is participating with a range of other voluntary and statutory organisations in a 'homeless prevention plan for families' to be launched in Dublin shortly. Copies of the information booklet are being circulated to all CISs and MABS nationwide the new Focus Ireland guidebook is backed up by a web-based 'Prevention Hub' where further specific local information can be obtained at www.focusireland.ie.
Pictured at the launch are: Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy, Focus Ireland, Jan O'Sullivan TD. Minister for Housing and Planning and Tony McQuinn, CEO.