Leading homeless charity awards PR services contract to award winning cause-related integrated agency
Leading homeless charity awards PR services contract to award winning cause-related integrated agency

Focus Ireland, the homelessness and housing charity supporting thousands of children, families and individuals across Ireland through its services and housing projects in Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Sligo and Limerick, has appointed The Brill Building as its lead PR agency.

The charity’s motto ‘Challenging Homelessness. Changing Lives’ reflects the fact that even though Ireland’s homelessness crisis continues to deepen things would be even worse without Focus Ireland. Focus Ireland staff are working hard every single day to support people while they are homeless, preventing others from losing their homes in the first place and also supporting many to secure a home and leave homelessness.

The latest figures show that homelessness has shot up by 14% in the last year. As many thousands more are at serious risk of losing their home, housing is expected to be top of the news and political agenda in the election year ahead. Focus Ireland has called for far more urgent government action as there is now a total number of 13,318 people homeless and shockingly nearly 4,000 are children.

Through its work to counteract the deepening homelessness crisis, Focus Ireland supported more than 4,000 children and 1,668 families in 2022, while 8,165 customers engaged with the charity’s Advice and Information (A&I) service, an increase of 8.5% compared to 2021. Meanwhile, Focus Ireland Housing Association which now provides over 1,400 homes in Ireland Focus Housing delivered 130 houses in 2022 - in partnership with its supporters and the State While, Focus Ireland prevented 613 households from losing their homes, an 18% rise compared to 2021. The Brill Building PR division joins Focus Ireland on a three-year contract to the inter-agency team to help the organisation in their mission realise their vision that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. The agency will be working primarily with the charity’s fundraising and digital teams.

The Irish Government signed up to the Lisbon Declaration which is a European-wide commitment to work towards ending homelessness by 2030. However, with homelessness well over 13,000 people homeless there is so much more that needs to be done to achieve this goal. Focus Ireland is holding a conference later in the year on this matter and the Brill Building will also be working with Focus Ireland on this project to assist in communicating its proposals on how this goal can be achieved.

Commenting on the agency appointment, John-Paul Le Bon, Head of Digital & Brand Marketing at Focus Ireland said: ‘Focus Ireland is delighted to enter a strategic public relations partnership with The Brill Building. We’re confident in their ability to bring their creative knowledge, expertise, and experience to our key fundraising campaigns, Shine A Light, The Christmas Appeal, The Big Busk and On The Move. As the homelessness crisis deepens, and over 13,500 men, women and children have no place to call home, we need to make every effort to raise vital funds for our services. The Brill Building’s support means we can maximise the capabilities of our campaigning and achieve real results for vulnerable people who are homeless.’

Leading the pitch-winning The Brill Building team on the account are CEO and ECD Roisin Keown, PR Lead Maria Rolston, Data & Insights Lead Kev Chesters, Project Lead Sorcha Hanratty and Creative Lead Peter Snodden. The Brill Building continues to build their credentials in cause-related campaigning most recently launching a social-led PR campaign with Snap and Meta for the Marie Keating Foundation to educate on lung cancer symptoms.

PR Lead Maria Rolston also spear-headed the agency’s hugely successful launch of the ‘Paddy Irishman’ photography project in the U.S. for St. Patrick’s Day 2023. The project, challenging stigma and historical stereotypes about the Irish, with photographer Ross O’Callaghan and lead sponsor Tourism Ireland was covered by NBC, the New York Times, BBC and The Guardian as well as Irish media and achieved a total potential PR reach figure of 831m.

Roisin Keown, CEO and ECD, The Brill Building, said:

“Homelessness is an enduring and worsening issue, and the current housing crisis in particular is the social emergency of our generation. It is the greatest threat to Ireland’s contract with its citizens since the nation in its current form was founded. We are honoured to be able to assist Focus Ireland in the enormously important work they do – they are at the forefront of the issues and the solutions and we look forward to helping their work and fundraising achieve all the support it deserves”