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Barnardos appeals for urgent action as 3,194 children face Christmas without a home. An additional 70 children were living in emergency accommodation at the end of October, marking an increase for the ninth month in a row.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said: "This perpetual increase in the number of children in emergency accommodation is beyond tragic. As hundreds of thousands of children across the country countdown the days to Christmas, 3,194 children will be facing the holiday with extreme uncertainty, unable to decorate a Christmas tree or receive Christmas cards through the front door. This time of year, more than any other, is focussed on the coming together of family within the cosiness and comfort of home. But for these children, their Christmas holidays will be tarnished by the insecurity of homelessness.
"We welcome the small reduction (14) in the number of homeless families in hotels and B&Bs in Dublin, however family hubs, while more appropriate emergency accommodation for children, cannot be seen as any kind of long-term solution. Children need the consistency, safety and stability of their own home. 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.
"We are also troubled by the increasing numbers of homeless families outside of Dublin. While numbers in Dublin remain a huge concern, rising numbers outside the capital confirm that the homelessness crisis is spreading. The Government must ensure the rapid provision of social housing as a long-term solution for not only the 1,463 families living in emergency accommodation across the country but also the many more 'hidden homeless' families sleeping on floors and couches of friends and family. Building of new social housing has been frustratingly slow in 2017. Without immense improvement in the number of completed social houses, the Government has no hope of alleviating this ever worsening crisis in 2018."