Coali­tion bids to tackle home­less­ness

Irish Examiner - - News - Eve­lyn Ring

A new coali­tion has been formed to end spi­ralling youth home­less­ness.

The part­ner­ship, es­tab­lished by Fo­cus Ire­land and the Na­tional Youth Coun­cil of Ire­land, is sup­ported by the youth and home­less sec­tors.

The num­ber of home­less peo­ple aged be­tween 18 and 24 has al­most dou­bled over the last three years, to a record of 826.

Fo­cus Ire­land Life president and founder, Sr Stan Kennedy, has called for co­or­di­nated state ac­tion to tackle the prob­lem.

Sr Stan was speak­ing yes­ter­day at a con­fer­ence on youth home­less­ness in Lim- erick to high­light the shock­ing, 98% rise in the num­ber of 18-24-year-olds who have be­come home­less since 2014.

The hous­ing and home­less­ness char­ity said that young peo­ple had paid a high price for the years of aus­ter­ity and that many had be­come marginalised and home­less as a re­sult.

“This is­sue must be ad­dressed, as a mat­ter of ur­gency, if we are to avoid con­demn­ing many young peo­ple to lives of marginal­i­sa­tion and un­ful­filled prom­ise,” she said.

She be­lieves the num­ber of home­less 18-24-year-olds is much higher than the of­fi­cial fig­ure from the De­part­ment of Hous­ing, Plan­ning, and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

“This fig­ure does not in­clude young peo­ple who live in un­sta­ble and tem­po­rary ar­range­ments, such as stay­ing on friend’s couches,” she said.

Sr Stan said the great work be­ing car­ried out by a wide range of or­gan­i­sa­tion was pre­vent­ing the cri­sis from wors­en­ing.

She men­tioned the in­no­va­tive and highly suc­cess­ful youth hous­ing pro­ject, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Fo­cus Ire­land, Tusla, and Lim­er­ick City and Coun­cil.

“We are pro­vid­ing homes for vul­ner­a­ble young peo­ple, along with vi­tal sup­port to help them sus­tain their ten­an­cies, as they make the tran­si­tion into adult­hood, ” Sr Stan said.

Fo­cus Ire­land also pro­vides youth hous­ing in Waterford, Cork, Clare, and North Tip­per­ary. Sr Stan said this ap­proach must be ex­tended around the coun­try.

The Coali­tion to End Youth Home­less­ness is sup­ported by the Na­tional Youth Coun­cil of Ire­land, Si­mon Com­mu­ni­ties of Ire­land, Cross­care, Thresh­old, The So­ci­ety of St Vin­cent de Paul, Be­LonG To, a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion for Les­bian, Gay, Bi­sex­ual and Trans­gen­dered (LGBT) young peo­ple, Teen Par­ents Sup­port Pro­gramme, and the Union of Stu­dents in Ire­land.

www.endy­outh­home­less­ness.ie

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