Barnardos Calls for Decisive Action as the Number of Homeless Children Rises Again
Depressingly, the number of children currently registered as homeless has again broken all records – with the current total at 3,124. The number of homeless families across the country has also increased.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said: “Yet again we see a tragic rise in the number of children registered as homeless. We cannot emphasise enough the damaging effect that living in emergency accommodation has on a child’s development. These children will not be enjoying their mid-term break at home, but will be passing the time in wildly unsuitable accommodation. There will be no ‘trick or treating’ this Halloween, no neighbours knocking at the door - another denial of a ritual childhood experience.
“While we see a slight drop in the number of homeless families in Dublin in September (eight less families than in August), this is not near enough of a decrease to have any significant impact. In fact, at this rate it would take almost 12 years for all of the families currently homeless in Dublin to enter long-term accommodation.
“Meanwhile, 690 families remain in hotels and B&Bs, which is highly inappropriate accommodation for children.
‘It’s like prison’ said one parent Barnardos is working with.
‘I am in a room with a double bed and a single bed and a bathroom. I have no cooking facilities, no way to wash my clothes. I have to share a bed with my 15 year old daughter’, said another.
“The announcements made in Budget 2018 can’t come quick enough as the increase in funding for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme should stem some of the flow of families into homelessness. The increased construction of social housing must be expedited so long term appropriate accommodation can be offered to families. In the meantime, Barnardos is calling on the Government to guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation. Without decisive action this crisis will continue to escalate and this Government will be responsible for one of the largest societal failings the state has ever witnessed.”