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Focus on Homeless Children


Focus on Homeless Children – In this article, Gillian Kelly explains why Focus is more than ever concerned with the homeless children problem in our city

Focus Ireland is concerned that homelessness is becoming more prevalent in children due to rent increases.  Recent figures show that over 1000 children and their families became homeless last year. Focus arranges emergency temporary accommodation in hotels for these families.  The majority of these people are cramped into hotel rooms for months at a time. 90% of these families had never been homeless before.   The child’s diet, education and health are affected by this situation.  The parents are under tremendous stress and our constantly concerned about their children.  Due to these circumstances the vast majority of these children will go on to be the next generation of early school leavers, unemployed, and homeless.  Sorting out housing for these families now will hopefully prevent this problem from occurring in the future.

Focus Ireland said the Government needs to address this problem promptly.  Minister Alan Kelly has taken some measures to tackle the problem but the whole Government needs to work together to improve this situation. Focus Ireland has asked for the Government to increase rent supplement rates and facilitate rent regulation. This would curtail the number of families and individuals becoming homeless. The Government must also introduce tax changes for landlords so it is financially attainable to rent out properties. The housing system must suit the landlord and tenant.

Minister Alan Kelly has put in place 2.2 billion Euros of social housing strategies.  We need this same kind of support from the Tánaiste and the Government.  Joan Burton, Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection won’t introduce rent controls as she said there are constitutional issues related to introducing them.  Focus Ireland believes this is not true.  Focus Ireland has previously appreciated Government measures which have helped preclude over 200 families from becoming homeless, but there was still an estimate of 40 families who became homeless every month last year. 

Focus Ireland have services for young people who are homeless, have left prison or have been homeless in the past.


Aftercare Services for Young People

These services are provided by Focus Ireland and are in partnership with the Health Service Executive. The service provides training and education skills for the kids.  This will enable them to adapt to living on their own when the time comes for them to leave the service.

Crisis Intervention Service Partnership (CISP)

This is also a partnership scheme with the HSE for young people.  It encourages children under 18 years old to go back to their family (if that is suitable) or suggests for the local community services to help find a suitable care option for them.

Off the Streets

This programme is part of the HSE Crisis Intervention Service and it provides temporary short term residential care for children aged 16 to 18 years.  The staff help the kids to develop their self-esteem, and provides them with access to education, employment programmes and practical skills.  These skills help the young person to cope with life when the time comes for them to get a home of their own.

The Street Outreach Team

The Street Outreach Team helps young people between 12 and 25 years old who are homeless.  The team recommends for the young people to go to their drop in day service.

The Outreach Team

This programme works in conjunction with the HSE’s Crisis Intervention Service to help children aged 12 – 17 years old to overcome their addictions.  They also assist the children in finding long term accommodation.

The Extension Day Service

This is a drop in day service for young people aged 16 to 25 years old.  The service provides them with a hot meal, a shower and a laundry service.  The staff works with them to access different services and to find a home.

Youth Care Management

This service works in conjunction with the Street Outreach and Extension programme.  The staff works with the young person to help them to gain access to the type of service that is required for them.  These services could be detox, mental health or supported housing.


This is a programme which works in conjunction with the Society of St Vincent De Paul to provide young people with a place to sleep, a hot meal and access to television.


Jacinta, 19, Dublin –Focus Ireland’s Aftercare programme

“I was in care from the age of 16-18 years old.  When I turned 18 years old the State told me I had to leave care.  Initially I slept on different friend’s coaches, I felt like a nuisance.  I felt very unsupported by the services.  I got in contact with Focus Ireland’s Aftercare programme and I got a lot of support from the staff.  They gave me advice whenever I needed it.  They really helped my confidence and self esteem to grow because they were so kind to me. 

I had my own room, it was lovely to have my own space after sleeping on uncomfortable coaches for weeks. I am really grateful to the staff on this programme for providing me with a safe place to live.” 


If you are aged under 18 years, who do you contact?

A social worker with The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a duty to look after a child’s needs if they are homeless. If a person under 18 becomes homeless they should go to their local area health office.  If the health office is closed the young person should go to their local Garda Station and the Gardaí will contact the on-duty Social Worker for the HSE Area so that emergency accommodation and supports can be arranged.


Where are the Day Services available for the Homeless?

The day service will assist the child by connecting them with local authorities to ensure that they have temporary emergency accommodation.


The following day services are available:


Merchants Quay Ireland Open Access Service

Cook Street, Dublin 8.
Phone  – 01 5240927 or by access the service directly
Opening Times – Monday to Friday 7.30am – 4.30pm, Saturday 7.30am – 1.00pm and Sunday 7.15am – 1.15pm

Focus Ireland Coffee Shop

15 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.
Phone –  01 6712555 or
Opening Times –  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10.30am – 5.00pm, Wednesday 11.30am- 5.00pm and Saturday, Sunday 11.30am -3.00pm

Extended Day Services (provided by Focus Ireland and Merchant’s Quay Ireland),
John’s Lane West, Dublin 8
Phone  – 01 5250240
Opening Times –  Monday to Sunday 5pm – 9pm

Capuchin Day Centre

29 Bow Street, Dublin 7
Phone  –  01 8720770
Opening Times –  Monday to Saturday- Breakfast 9am -11.30am and lunch 1pm -3pm. Food parcels are also available on Wednesday mornings

Crosscare Housing and Welfare Information

1 Cathedral Street, Dublin 1
Phone –  01 8726775
Opening Times –  Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9.30am – 1.30pm, 2pm – 4.30pm and Wednesday 2pm – 4.30pm

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