Focus Ireland’s annual Shine a Light initiative takes place this evening – a hugely important fundraising and awareness campaign for the charity.
According to the latest Focus Ireland press release, the number of homeless in Ireland in August 2016 was 6,611 and this has risen by 57% to 10,338 in August 2019.
2,263 children were homeless in August 2016 and this has jumped by 70% to 3,848 in August 2019.
We can only imagine the impact that this is having on the charity and on the frontline staff who work tirelessly to support the individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness.
Always mindful of supporting practitioners, we recently applied for a grant from the ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund to part fund a four-day brief intervention training course specifically for Focus Ireland frontline staff.
We have now received a grant of €5,000 to provide training to a further 32 Focus Ireland staff so this will bring the number of workers in the homeless sector whom we have trained to 269 to date.
Our evidence-informed ‘Adopt a relational approach, Build, Listen and Empower’ (ABLE) training model gives staff the skills, confidence and ability to support service users through personal difficulties while managing their time and boundaries – which is vital in preventing staff burn-out.
Using core communication skills like active/reflective listening, empathy and understanding, workers in the homeless service learn how to engage with and support those who turn to them for help, nurturing trust and rapport to build service users’ capacity and resilience.
The training supports Focus Ireland’s commitment to the principles of a Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) by providing a reflective space for workers to consider the emotions, personalities and past experiences of service users.
The first three days of the training have already been very well-received and we look forward to sharing our evaluation of the training once the participants have completed the course in November.
We wish all who are sleeping out this evening in solidarity with those experiencing homelessness a successful and safe night ahead.