Dec 19, 2023 | Featured Articles

Safe Home Ireland has directly assisted 2,280 Irish-born people to secure accommodation on their return home since the charity was first set up in 2000. This has been achieved with the support of local authorities and housing associations across the country, according to CEO Karen McHugh, who outlines what sets it apart from other service providers.

Safe Home Ireland (Safe Home) is a not-for-profit Irish charity with a global remit. The organisation was set up in 2000 to facilitate the desire for qualifying older Irish-born emigrants abroad to return to their homeland. After much advocacy and publicity at that time, Safe Home succeeded in highlighting their circumstances and this recognition was reflected in the granting of the Amendment to the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS) in November 2001.

The Amendment gave qualifying Irish-born emigrants a realistic chance of realising their dream of returning home to Ireland by allowing them to be considered for housing association properties in their native areas. This recognition continues to this day, primarily facilitated by local authorities throughout the country.

Over the years, Safe Home has evolved from simply facilitating a housing option for older Irish-born emigrants. It now provides a targeted range of services to Irish emigrants abroad, regardless of age or circumstances, who desire to return home, as well as supporting those who have recently made the journey back home. Our head office is located in Co. Mayo with our outreach offices located in Co. Kerry, Co. Laois and Co. Galway.

In addition to directly assisting 2,280 Irish-born people to secure accommodation back home, we have also supported countless others who have returned independently, by providing holistic and person-centred support upon their return. For the majority, their return was a positive lifelong dream and could not have been fulfilled without Safe Home intervention and support.

In 2023 the Safe Home Board undertook a review and planning process to capture trends, analysis, lessons, and insights to inform the strategic decision-making that underpins its new five-year plan to 2028.


Safe Home Ireland’s fundraising walk along the ‘National Famine Way’ will follow in the footsteps of its inaugural 165km trail last May.


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‘Thank you’ to @sligococo council for leading the way as only the second council in Ireland to formally approve ‘to allocate one age-friendly property per year in each of the council’s electoral areas to a (qualifying) returning Irish emigrant’.

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