Number of homeless children tops 3,000
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.