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Former Dragons’ Den investor teams up with Dublin charity Focus Ireland to tackle homelessness

Former Dragons’ Den investor and businessman Barry O’Sullivan has teamed up with Dublin charity Focus Ireland on a project to deliver over 100 homes in the next two years for families and individuals who are homeless or at risk.

Barry previously helped Focus Ireland by selling his holiday home on the Aran Islands and donating the proceeds to the charity.

Now Barry is spear-heading a new initiative called ‘Technology for Transformation’ which involves mobilising the support of the large Irish technology sector to raise funds to assist Focus Ireland to provide over 100 homes over the next two years. A number of leading companies have already signed up to the initiative including LinkedIn, Microsoft, PayPal and Teamwork.

Like any home buyer, Focus Ireland is required to place a deposit on a property before being able to access the balance from its funders. The average 10% equity deposit that Focus Ireland must have in place to leverage the finance required to buy a typical 2+ bedroom family unit is €25,000. The charity accesses the additional funding required to deliver each home through a mix of State funding sources.

How the new “Technology for Transformation” initiative works is that each technology company that participates will provide from between €25,000 to €50,000 per year to enable Focus Ireland to place the 10% equity deposit on a home in order to be able to deliver these 100 much needed homes over the next two years.

Barry O’Sullivan said: “Focus Ireland has real solutions to this crisis, and as part of their strategy they have committed to providing an additional 150 homes per year. I know that the Irish technology sector can come together to help fund delivery of 100 of those homes over the next two years.”

He added: “Everyone needs a place to call home where they can be safe and live with their family and loved ones. Home is the foundation stone of all our lives and during this awful pandemic this has become even more apparent. No person – especially a child – should ever be homeless and we want the Tech sector to help in the fight to end homelessness.”

Pat Dennigan, CEO of Focus Ireland, said: “An increased supply of social housing is vital if we are to provide sustained exits out of homelessness. The delivery of housing remains a core part of Focus Ireland’s strategy and is a cornerstone in our work of challenging homelessness and changing lives. I really can’t underestimate how invaluable the new “Technology for Transformation” initiative will be in supporting our work across the country to provide more homes.”



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