Covid-19 must prove to be a turning point in the battle to end homelessness, a prominent Irish nun and social activist has said.
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, founder of Irish homelessness charity Focus Ireland, said that as the country recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, it can use this period to reform its practices and alleviate and defeat homelessness by focusing on long-term measures such as social and affordable rental housing.
“As we are still dealing with Covid-19, Focus Ireland is working more closely than ever with the State and partner organisations to protect people who are homeless,” said Sr Stan.
“We have helped to move record numbers of families and individuals out of homelessness in this period helping over 1,100 households to secure a home in the last year.”
But she stressed that more work needs to be done: “Covid-19 must prove to be a turning point in the battle to end homelessness and we need to move on from short-term measures and hubs to provide more social and affordable rental housing.
“The work over the past year is an indication that homelessness can be alleviated and eventually defeated – if we set our minds to it.”
Sr Stan’s call comes as Focus Ireland has published its new five-year Strategic Plan, which aims to support over 5,000 households out of homelessness by the end of 2025.
The charity will achieve this by delivering 1150 new homes in partnership with Local Authorities and other State agencies through a mix of direct build, buying and leasing.
Meanwhile, Focus Ireland services will also work in partnership with State agencies to support 4,000 families leave homelessness and into homes rented from local authorities, Approved Housing Bodies and private landlords.
The innovative strategy will guide Focus Ireland’s work to help deliver an essential shift away from managing the crisis and towards ending homelessness.
Picture: Sr Stanislaus Kennedy.