An evaluation report carried out by Focus Ireland on the effect of its services on young homeless people in Limerick has found that it had a significant impact on changing and saving the lives of vulnerable young people.
54 young homeless people between the ages of 18-24 in the city had availed of the charity's supports since May 2013. Up to 45 of them had achieved housing stability by the time they left the service.
Fourteen of the 54 took park in the evaluation project and three of those who had unstable housing histories felt the service had saved their lives.
Six of the 14 had contact with the criminal justice system prior to engaging with the service and none after their transitioned to housing.
There was also a complete reduction to zero in the number of young homeless people having contact with the emergency medical services.
Young people who engaged with the service generally reported an improvement in their health and quality of life and relationships, and they above all valued the non-judgemental approach adopted by those trying to help them.
Focus Ireland manager in Limerick Ger Spillane said that economic disadvantage and the recession has increased the difficulties faced by young people trying to gain housing employment and training.
He said: "Sadly we have seen a lot of young people falling through the crack over the years in Limerick.
"Some are in great pain and turn to drugs and drink and this can and has led to tragic events and young people dying.
"The stable housing with key supports is helping to not only change lives but to save lives", he said.
Mr Spillane said the partnership approach with partners like Limerick City council and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is a key ingredient to successful work with vulnerable young people which should be encouraged nationwide.