Focus Ireland has warned the Government that a continued failure to provide housing will lead to ‘an entrenched homeless crisis much worse than the 1980s’.

The homeless charity launched a new awareness campaign on its 25th anniversary that aims to keep homelessness firmly on the public and political agenda and also to raise funds for services it provides to over 5,500 people each year.

Focus Ireland was founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy in September 1985 when the charity opened its coffee shop and advice and information centre in Temple Bar in Dublin.

It was set-up as a direct response to the lack of services for homeless people in the capital at that time.

Speaking today Sr Stan said that thousands of people are at risk of losing their homes due to the severe impact of the recession.

She said that successive Governments have failed to tackle homelessness despite the Celtic Tiger years.

The charity says that there are up to 5,000 homeless people nationwide and 100,000 households are on social housing waiting lists.

Sr Stan said: ‘There are people who are homeless who are ready to move on today but they are trapped in emergency accommodation as there are no homes for them.’

Focus Ireland CEO Joyce Loughnan said: ‘We will continue to work hard towards helping to achieve the agreed Government target of ending long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough by the end of 2010.

'However, in such a climate it would be disastrous if the Government was to use the Budget to cut existing levels of funding to homeless services - especially if there is a continued failure to provide housing for those most in need.’