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Barnardos Calls for Immediate Action on Emergency Accommodation Standards for Homeless Families

The government must take immediate action to address the growing number of children living in cramped and poor standard emergency accommodation.

Ahead of the latest homelessness data figures from the Department of Housing, Barnardos children’s charity says for the children living in emergency accommodation, their wellbeing and development is something the government must take immediate action to address. 

Too many children are suddenly being uprooted from their homes, friends and communities, often forced to move schools, and being placed into overcrowded and unsuitable accommodation. This frequently involves sharing single rooms with multiple siblings and parents, with little to no amenities, even to cook or store food, long distances from their homes for potentially long and uncertain periods of time. Staff across Barnardos services, throughout the country, report that children living in emergency accommodation are routinely negatively affected by this experience. 

For parents entering emergency accommodation, having to suddenly to move their families from homes to one room units in unknown area for unknown period, can be hugely stressful and damaging to mental health. It can exacerbate existing additional adversities to the detriment of children.

Parents have told Barnardos’ staff they are fearful of the damage living in emergency accommodation is having on their children, for example the lack of privacy and space to socialise for older children, and the lack of space for development activities such as learning to crawl or walk for very young children. Barnardos know of parents who are worried about their children’s safety in their emergency accommodation. 

The latest statistics for Dublin family homelessness (which makes up approximately 70% of family homelessness in Ireland) shows that more than one in five families in emergency accommodation were there for more than 2 years (22%, up from 16% compared to same period 12 months earlier) and nearly half had been there for more than 12 months (49%, up from 37% compared to the same period 12 months earlier), a huge period of time for a child, a large portion of their actual childhoods.  

The government is not doing enough in the short or immediate term to improve the lives of children living in emergency accommodation. Efforts must be made and actions taken to mitigate or minimise some of the harm these children might suffer and reduce some of the trauma they may be forced to confront. 

The government must take action to improve the conditions for children living in emergency accommodation. Additionally, they must offer intensive trauma led family support to all parents and children entering emergency accommodation in order to reduce the harm they face, because childhood lasts a lifetime. 


Notes to Editor:    

For further information, please contact:  Barnardos Press Office: [email protected]  / 086 0445966    
Facebook: barnardosireland  
Twitter: @Barnardos_IRL   
Instagram: @barnardos_irl   

About Barnardos

Barnardos’ mission is to deliver services and work with families, communities, and our partners to transform the lives of vulnerable children who are affected by adverse childhood experiences. Because childhood lasts a lifetime  

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