Number of Children Registered as Homeless Reaches All-Time High for Fifth Month in a Row
Barnardos is yet again appalled by the latest homelessness figures released this month, which report record breaking numbers of children registered as homeless and confirm a further deepening of the housing crisis. 2,973 children are currently without a home in Ireland, many of which are returning to school, trying to return to normal life, while living in emergency accommodation.
June Tinsley, Barnardos Head of Advocacy said: “Child homelessness has increased by 296% in the last three years (since July 2014). This is totally unacceptable and tragically, preventable. A monthly increase in child homelessness should not be inevitable. Every day in homelessness is a day too long for a child. We see first-hand the devastating and long-term impact that being homeless has on a child’s health and development, not to mention their ability to learn.
“Last week, children across the country went back to school – thousands of children returned to the classroom having spent the night in emergency accommodation. These children won’t be able to have friends over to play after school, they will have no place to do their homework and they have no dinner table over which to share stories from their day. These children will be trying to maintain a normal existence in an extraordinary and incredibly challenging situation, with their classmates and maybe even their teachers unaware of the struggle they’re enduring.
“For their parents, feelings of guilt and helplessness are heightened by children returning to school, a time symbolic of normality and routine – while their home life lacks exactly that. Beginning a new school year still without a home will dash the hopes of the many children who believed their stay in a hotel, B&B or other emergency arrangement to be only temporary.
“The Government must take more immediate and decisive action; they must do more to stem the flow of families becoming homeless. Current policies are failing and childhoods are being destroyed.”