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Take Action on Child Homelessness

  • 27/04/2018
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Barnardos calls for guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation.

Child at a window

Over 3000 children are currently living in emergency accommodation in Ireland. As part of its Lost campaign, Barnardos Ireland has launched a petition calling on the Government to guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation.

Life in emergency accommodation

Life for a family in emergency accommodation is difficult. Eating, studying, sleeping, playing, dressing and clothes-drying all happen within the same small four walls. Children share beds with their siblings and often their parents. Families live out of suitcases, having given away or stored many of their belongings, never settling, always aware that they may have to move on.Being homeless takes a significant toll on a child’s health and development. They often experience anxiety as they fret over their future and see the strain on their parents who no doubt display signs of worry and distress. “I am keeping my kids positive but deep down I am falling apart”, one parent living in emergency accommodation told us. “I cried for the first two weeks in there, I sobbed my heart out in the bathroom, it makes you feel like a failure as a mother” said another.

Dublin's homeless families

Barnardos state: "Over half of families experiencing homelessness in Dublin are currently housed in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation - outrageously inappropriate accommodation for children. Family hubs have been developed as an alternative option for homeless families. While hubs are indeed a more appropriate setting for children they absolutely cannot become a long-term solution. The experience of being homeless – of living in any kind of emergency accommodation, is hugely 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. Children need the consistency, safety and stability of their own home. Every day in homelessness is a day too long for a child."

Call for guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation

Barnardos is calling on the Government to guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation – ensuring an appropriate long-term solution at the end of this period.

Find out more about Barnardo's Ireland's child homelessness petition

Do you need help?

If you are homeless or concerned about someone else who is, please contact your local authority.

The following organisations may be able to give you further advice:

National homelessness charities: Threshold, Simon Communities of Ireland and Focus Ireland

Dublin-based homeless charity: Inner City Helping Homeless

Money Advice and Budgeting Service which can advise on debt, including housing, and has information sheets on its website.

You may also find it helpful to look at the Citizens Ireland information on housing

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your background, circumstances and needs.

Source: Barnardos Ireland: Take Action on Child Homelessness

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