Number of home­less chil­dren tops 3,000

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By James Ward Po­lit­i­cal Cor­re­spon­dent

MORE than 3,000 chil­dren are home­less in Ire­land, the high­est number on record, lat­est fig­ures have re­vealed.

For the sev­enth month in a row, the number of chil­dren in emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion has risen to a new record peak, in what has been de­scribed as an ‘es­ca­lat­ing tragedy which does not seem to be com­ing to an end.’

Speaking yes­ter­day, Hous­ing Min­is­ter Eoghan Murphy said that progress is be­ing made with re­gards to home­less­ness, but there re­mains a long way to go.

He added: ‘The Taoiseach has said that it’s a stain on our so­ci­ety and that’s why we’re putting in so many re­sources and so many ef­forts to try and help th­ese fam­i­lies into hubs, but then into per­ma­nent sus­tain­able ac­com­mo­da­tion. A huge amount of work is be­ing done, a huge amount of money is be­ing spent.’

The new fig­ures from the hous­ing depart­ment show that there were 8,270 home­less peo­ple in Ire­land in Au­gust this year, of which 3,048 were chil­dren.

June Tins­ley, of the chil­dren’s char­ity Barnar­dos, com­mented: ‘The number of chil­dren reg­is­tered as home­less has passed the 3,000 mark – a number we had naively hoped would some­how act as a ceil­ing for this es­ca­lat­ing tragedy which does not seem to be com­ing to an end.

‘The ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing home­less – of liv­ing in emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion, is detri­men­tal to a child’s well­be­ing.

‘Par­ents that we work with are re­port­ing high lev­els of anx­i­ety in their chil­dren as they try to cope with a life of un­cer­tainty. Th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences and mem­o­ries will stick with th­ese chil­dren for­ever.

‘We see the par­ents strug­gle as they try des­per­ately to main­tain a sense of nor­mal­ity for their chil­dren whilst feel­ing help­less, guilty and in­ad­e­quate. The pres­sure is im­mense,’ she added.

The number of fam­i­lies pre­sent­ing as home­less in Dublin had dropped sig­nif­i­cantly by 32, but that fact is tem­pered some­what by an in­crease of 13 home­less fam­i­lies na­tion­ally.

Fo­cus Ire­land has wel­comed the drop in the cap­i­tal, but say the cri­sis is start­ing to af­fect higher num­bers na­tion­wide.

Ad­vo­cacy di­rec­tor Mike Allen said: ‘It is great news for ev­ery sin­gle fam­ily that we sup­port to se­cure homes through our work with Dublin Re­gion Home­less Ex­ec­u­tive, Dublin City Coun­cil and the Gov­ern­ment. How­ever, the fact that the number of fam­i­lies home­less na­tion­wide has hit a record to­tal shows the cri­sis is also spread­ing around the coun­try.’

Mean­while, the number of houses be­ing built has in­creased but is still well be­low what is re­quired to deal with our soar­ing pop­u­la­tion, CSO fig­ures show.

The amount of build­ing is up by al­most 14% com­pared to last year.

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