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Annual Report 2011 Summary 07/06/2012 15:43 Page 1

About Focus Ireland

Annual Report 2011 Finance Summary

Focus Ireland is a housing and homelessness charity working to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness through the provision of quality services, supported housing, research and advocacy. Founded in 1985 by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, it works with single adults, families and young people, believing that everyone has a right to a place they can call home, which is safe, secure, affordable and appropriate to their needs. Mission · Focus Ireland aims to advance the rights of people out-of-home to live in a

place they call home through quality services, research and advocacy. Vision · Focus Ireland believes that everyone has the right to a place they can call home. Chief Executive · Joyce Loughnan Directors · Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, Founder and Life President Gerry Danaher, Chairperson Helen Kilroy, Vice Chairperson

David Martin · Deirdre Connolly Mary O’Shea · Paul Carroll, retired Jan 2011 William K Nowlan, retired Mar 2011 Sean Carey, joined May 2011 Paul Finnerty, retired Sept 2011

Declan O’Flaherty, joined Sept 2011 Dr Valerie Richardson, retired Nov 2011 Trustees · Sr Síle Wall · Dr Helen Burke Tim Bouchier Hayes Company Secretary · Mark Byrne

‘When I was homeless I felt really low. When I signed up for Focus Ireland’s education course it really gave me a boost.’

Focus Ireland worked hard during 2011 to cope with the continuing harsh economic climate and its impact on the increasing number of people at risk of becoming homeless in Ireland. We also strived to ensure the continued funding of all of our vital services for people who are currently homeless. To achieve this it was imperative to continue our ongoing work to ensure that all costs are tightly controlled so Focus Ireland remains strong and agile enough to operate efficiently while meeting rising demand. The success of Focus Ireland’s work in this area was highlighted as our Annual Report 2010 was once again shortlisted by the Chartered Accountant’s Ireland Leinster Society for its Published Accounts Awards which reward organisations for excellence in financial reporting. Focus Ireland has developed a comprehensive strategy – running from 2011 to 2016 – which will guide its work to combat and prevent homelessness in Ireland In order to meet the requirements of our strategy we require strong financial management. The financial outcomes for the organisation for 2011 were positive. The following are some highlights:

Financial Review

> A total of 90% of all of our expenditure went on delivering services to help combat and prevent homelessness. > Our cost control initiatives once again proved to be a major factor in 2011; we were able to keep costs at 7% lower than budget, while at the same time increasing the number of people our services benefitted from 6,500 in 2010 a total of nearly 7,500 in 2011.

John, 24, Dublin

Focus Ireland’s fundraising income was €5.4 million in 2012. This great support (along with grant income received) ensured we were in a good position to continue to refine and develop our services in line with our current strategy to place an even greater emphasis on prevention. This work included opening a new aftercare service in Waterford and also the further development of our advice and information services to help prevent people from losing their home.







11.25 5.49 1.22 0.38

61% 30% 7% 2%

11.36 5.06 1.22 0.50

62% 28% 7% 3%


Pamela Flood teamed up with Focus Ireland to support our annual Sponsor a Star Campaign

Jack Baker and Rosie Smallwood from The Architects Team, taking part in the Focus Ireland Four Peaks Challenge

Nearly €100,000 was raised between 18–20 Nov 2011 during our Key to a Home campaign

Mix of expenditure Direct charitable activity costs Governance and support costs Fundraising and event costs

Fundraising Last year we again saw an increase in numbers seeking support from Focus Ireland, as almost 7,500 benefitted from our services. The impact of the recession deepened during the year, especially for people who are homeless and thousands more at risk of losing their homes. It is unlikely that there is a household in Ireland that hasn’t, in one way or another, been affected by our economic situation. Despite this, our donors have rallied to support those most in need of help. We received tremendous support from donors, volunteers, corporates and community groups alike which helped us to raise a staggering €5.4 million. Our fundraising team worked very hard to help raise vital funds, of which 90 cents in every euro is spent directly on our services. The support we received was especially strong towards the end of the year. We highlighted the worrying fact that one in seven people using homeless services is a child.

Mix of income Grant income Fundraising income Rental income Other income

10% nonservices

Focus Ireland is so 90% services thankful for the great support we receive to us to continue our vital work. We will rely on this continued support to help In 2011, we spent 90c of every €1 we received on us to support the most our services for people vulnerable in our society. who are homeless or at Sincere thanks to all risk of homelessness. companies, funders, donors and people who took part in Focus Ireland fundraising events in 2011 to help support our vital work to combat and prevent homelessness in Ireland. To find out more about Focus Ireland’s work please go to and view our full Annual Report 2011.

Fundraising cost to income ratio Fundraising income Fundraising costs

————— 18.35 —————

————— 100% —————

————— 18.14 —————

————— 100% —————

15.71 0.30 1.45

90% 2% 8%

14.98 0.55 1.01

91% 3% 6%

————— 17.45 —————

5.49 1.45

————— 4.04 —————

————— 100% —————

————— 74% —————

————— 16.54 —————

5.06 1.01

————— 4.05 —————

————— 100% —————

————— 80% —————


To review Focus Ireland’s full financial report please go to and view our Annual Report 2011.

Focus Ireland Head Office 9–12 High Street Christchurch Dublin 8

Tel 01 881 5900 LoCall 1850 204 205 Fax 01 881 5950 Email

In order to protect the identity of our customers the photographs in this document are of volunteers. Registered charity CHY 7220

1850 204 205

Annual Report 2011 Summary 07/06/2012 15:43 Page 4

Foreword by Joyce Loughnan

Message from Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

Focus Ireland Services

Chief Executive of Focus Ireland

Founder and Life President of Focus Ireland

Prevention · Support · Housing

Dear friends Because of the harsh economic climate and its impact on the rising number of people at risk of becoming homeless, 2011 was another hard year. The lack of housing kept many trapped as homeless, despite the fact that the country is awash with empty homes.

Although it is vital to recognise and address these difficulties, it is equally important to acknowledge the successes achieved. The flexibility and commitment of our staff and volunteers and the support received from statutory bodies, corporates and the public helped us to create homes together and to make a difference to many people’s lives. A total of 7,459 people benefitted from our services and support in 2011. This shows the impact of our shift to early intervention. We settled 173 households, provided 30 supported homes, and prevented over 100 households from becoming homeless. This means that over 300 households are not in need of homeless services. Even in these difficult times we continue to meet challenges and support the people we work with each day. We launched a new Supported Temporary Accommodation project in Dublin to help young people escape homelessness and we also launched the Support to Home Settlement service with the Peter McVerry Trust. In 2011, we extended our work, targeting the media, political parties and civil service to advocate on behalf of people who are homeless and to lobby on key issues. It was a crucial time because of the General Election, and we worked strategically to keep housing and homelessness on the agenda. We also continued our work to ensure that Focus Ireland is well positioned to react to an ever-changing situation. We have developed a strategy running from 2011 to 2016, which sets out how we plan to play our role to combat and prevent homelessness. By the end of 2016, we aim to have supported a further 2,500 households to secure a home. We have worked over several years to direct our support services towards moving people on to permanent

housing, reflecting both our own vision and the Government strategy, Pathway to Home. However, to provide the final step along the path – access to appropriate housing – we are entirely dependent upon the effectiveness of Government policy. The continued failure of State programmes to deliver access to affordable housing is keeping people trapped in emergency accommodation. If this situation is allowed to continue it will make homelessness a way of life for people rather than a stage in their life that they can move out of as quickly as possible. Effective Government policies are required to meet the country’s housing needs. It is scandalous that for the third consecutive year we have to highlight that thousands are trapped as homeless even though there are plenty of empty homes in the country. We have done all in our power to raise finance to purchase these, but to no avail. We can play a key part in delivering homes, but the Government needs to take action to put a new central mechanism in place to help voluntary housing associations, chosen by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, to access finance with managed terms and risks. We firmly believe that homelessness can be solved, but it needs to be made a political priority. With the right mix of preventative, housing and support strategies, Ireland can end long-term homelessness by the end of 2013. I would like to finish by adding that we remain extremely grateful to our faithful supporters and statutory funders, without whom we would not be able to do the life-changing work that we do. Joyce Loughnan · Chief Executive

Ireland is going through a very difficult time as a society. We see this every day as more people come to Focus Ireland seeking support because of the impact of the recession. More people are in need of housing and at risk of becoming homeless. Our vision is that everyone has a right to a place called home.

The desire for a place called home is the deepest need in every human heart, but perhaps the least recognised. Home remains beyond the grasp of many people because something has happened in their lives. Some catastrophic event has separated them from home and they find it impossible to come home again or secure a home of their own. People who are homeless are going through a transition in their lives. They may be moving from one home to another and have become stranded in between; they may be in transition from family home to independence, and something has gone wrong; they may have been mentally ill and are in transition to healing and have yet to find a new place in the community; or they may be fleeing violence or abuse. The danger is that people sometimes become trapped in this state and never get to the other side – the place they set out for. If there is no one to give them a helping hand at this crucial time they can slip into a life that is without hope. People who are homeless have no possessions or security, and their circumstances can very quickly take away their selfrespect. If they are not helped to ‘come home’ they may end up bitter and perhaps destructive towards themselves and others. I am deeply worried about the growing inequality in Irish society and the worsening situation for people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home. The most recent EU SILK ‘Survey on Income and Living Conditions’ showed a sharp rise in the number of people living in poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor. The harsh reality is that many families are struggling, with some already having to choose

between being able to heat their homes or provide enough food for their children. Worryingly, figures show that of those who use homeless services, one in seven is a child. This clearly shows that poverty is having a serious impact on the most vulnerable. The figures also show that in Dublin there were at least 576 children using homeless services. Meanwhile, figures from the Department of the Environment showed that whereas in 1991 there were 23,000 households on social housing waiting lists, by the end of the ‘boom’ in 2008, the figure had more than doubled to 54,000 households. This has now nearly doubled again to a record total of just under 100,000 households on waiting lists. These figures show that we have taken a step backwards and that in fact inequality has become worse than ever. The current situation is a damming indictment of the failure of our society and our political system to protect the most vulnerable. The truth is that, given the political will, homelessness could be solved in the next few years. It is possible. The work of Focus Ireland shows this. When people have someone to listen to them and to provide them with support, they can overcome difficult times and secure a home. This would actually save the State money and also benefit many thousands of families and single people by providing them with a place to call home. We must all redouble our efforts and continue our work together towards achieving this worthy goal.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy Founder and Life President

Since 1985, Focus Ireland has worked to enhance its service model, building on the experience of providing housing and homeless services in order to contribute to the goal of ending long-term homelessness. Its wide range of services are targeted at preventing homelessness for those at risk of losing their home and providing support for those who are homeless and helping them to secure and settle into long-term housing. While Focus Ireland responds in some way to all experiences of homelessness or the risk of becoming homeless, it has developed specialised skills and competencies to support young people and families facing homelessness. These particularly vulnerable groups often require a complex range of interventions to assist them in sustaining a place they can call home. Focus Ireland has continued to provide and develop these specialised services and has extended them to other areas where they are needed nationally. Our ability to deliver high-quality assistance to individuals and families facing homelessness is crucially dependent on the skill and dedication of our staff. In these tough economic times, the support of

State funders, sponsors and many individuals is more vital than ever before. The deepening impact of the recession on the most vulnerable people in society is reflected in an increased demand for our services and support during the year. Focus Ireland’s services benefitted a total of 7,459 adults and children during 2011, compared to 6,500 people in 2010. This increase of almost 15% was due primarily to the growth in the number of those using our Extended Day Service Coffee Shop, run jointly with Merchant’s Quay Ireland Outreach and Dublin Simon, and our own expanded advice and information services. We also managed just under 640 homes in Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Limerick, Clare, Sligo and Cork. Despite many challenges, Focus Ireland’s housing programme and tenancy support and settlement work helped 307 households to secure a home in 2011.

Advocacy, Research and Communication The Advocacy Team continued to develop its work in 2011 as it became more important than ever, given the impact of the worsening economic situation and subsequent funding cuts on our customers and organisation. During last year’s General Election and the formation of a new Government, Focus Ireland worked strategically to keep the issues of housing and homelessness on the agenda. This approach continued throughout the year. Focus Ireland works to advance policy positions to help tackle and prevent homelessness. Critical to this task is the need to demonstrate the effectiveness of a particular policy and communicate evidence of this to key audiences, such as the Oireachtas, national and local government, the statutory sector, other voluntary bodies and the public. An overview of the key aspects of this work in 2011 follows.

General Election 2011: Focus Ireland ran an ‘Election Campaign’ to keep homelessness and housing on the agenda. This included direct lobbying of each political party, calling for specific policies to be included in the manifestos of political parties and engaging the wider public through the media and a targeted social media campaign. Over 1,200 emails were sent to TDs by our supporters as part of this campaign. This work continued after the General Election with a lobbying initiative on the Programme for Government, the outcome of which was the inclusion of specific commitments on homelessness in the programme for the new Fine Gael–Labour Government.

To find out more about Focus Ireland’s work please go to and view our full Annual Report 2011.

Annual Report Summary 2011  

The Annual Report Summary 2011 provides a very breif synopsis of our work over 2011. Last year we again saw an increase in numbers seeking...

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