An Irish businessman and host of RTE TV show “Dragons’ Den,” Barry O’Sullivan, is selling a dream home on the Aran Islands and donating the proceeds to two homeless charities - Focus Ireland and COPE Galway. Focus Ireland and COPE Galway, to charities dedicated to aiding the homeless, announced a campaign to allow the wealthy to help with the homelessness crisis. The “Home from Home” campaign encourages people who are in a position to do so, to donate properties or funds to support the provision of homes to the homeless. Every €20,000 each organization receives can be leveraged to purchase or refurbish a home (through borrowing and other government funding schemes). O’Sullivan’s is the first donation to the scheme.
The sale will provide Focus Ireland and COPE Galway with the deposits to purchase at least 15 homes for families who are homeless. The cost-efficient programs in place at both charities mean that every €20,000 each organization receives can be leveraged to purchase and refurbish one home. The balance of the purchase price will come through borrowing and government funding schemes – which are extremely difficult to avail of without the ‘€20,000’ initial leverage.
The result will be that Barry's very generous gift from the proceeds of one house will help to deliver homes for up to 15 families or individuals who are currently homeless. This could be even more depending on the final sale value of Mr. O’Sullivan’s property. The house he is putting up for auction is a stunning 6 bed property which enjoys magnificent views of Kilmurvey beach and the wild Atlantic on Inishmore.
Commenting on the generous act Focus Ireland’s Life President and Founder Sr. Stan said: “I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Barry and his family for this really lovely gift. I thank him not only on behalf of Focus Ireland but on behalf of the families who will have a place to call home because of this great act.”
She added: “It is vital that both Focus Ireland and COPE Galway have programs like “Home from Home” in place that enable donations such as this to be leveraged with other funds to provide much needed housing. Large donors often want to get involved but may be thinking: ‘What can I do to really help?’ Well this is a perfect example of how such a donation will help both our charities to deliver homes for families and their children to escape the trauma of being homeless.”
Meanwhile, CEO of COPE Galway Jacquie Horan says that the numbers of people facing homelessness in Galway is the worst she can remember in her 20 years with COPE Galway – and the biggest challenge now is getting access to housing. So the value of this house in providing a further 15 or more houses for homeless people is amazing. Maybe it might even plant a seed for other such donations.”
It is for this reason that both charities encouraged Barry to go public with his donation. Because of his own high profile associated in the main with Dragons’ Den, it is hoped that this will raise the profile of the property, and encourage others who may be in a similar position to consider doing something similar.
The generous act by the international businessman comes as family homelessness is at record levels with over 1,200 families and 2,400 children facing Christmas in emergency homeless accommodation. Focus Ireland is the lead homeless organization working with families in Dublin, while COPE Galway works with homeless families and individuals in Galway city and county.
The house is going to auction on December 16th with O’Donnellan & Joyce Auctioneers in their Wild Atlantic Way Christmas Property Auction at 2pm in the Harbour Hotel, New Dock Road, Galway. The property is guiding with a minimum value of €300,000 however both charities are hopeful that it will raise even more given the spirit of generosity associated with this gift, coupled with the highest ever levels of need for housing for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland this Christmas.
Barry O’Sullivan has been on the board of management of COPE Galway from 2009 to 2015. He has always been a strong and generous advocate in support of the work of the organization. During this time he also became part of the Dragons’ Den series and used this platform to promote COPE Galway and to support entrepreneurs with a social conscience.
O’Sullivan explained his reasons for selling the house and making his generous offer to help work by the two leading charities. He said: “I know from my work with COPE Galway the terrible trauma families who are homeless go through. I also know charities like Focus Ireland and COPE Galway help many families and individuals to secure a home and escape from being homeless. I am happy to be in a position to sell this house and donate the proceeds to the Home from Home program.”
Barry has spent most of his career in Silicon Valley and is CEO of Altocloud, a tech company with bases in Silicon Valley and Ireland. Focus Ireland is a national organization that believes everybody has a right to a place they can call home. COPE Galway is a local organization whose vision is improved quality of life in a home of your own.