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Barnardos has welcomed the latest release from the Department of Housing which shows there were 179 fewer children living in homeless accommodation in March than in February. While a decrease in the number of children living in emergency accommodation is positive, the challenges facing the 3,355 children and their families still experiencing homelessness have been severely complicated by the outbreak of Covid-19.
Suzanne Connolly, Barnardos CEO said: “The decrease in the number of children experiencing homelessness in March is welcome but it is too early to say if this is a trend resulting from the protective measures introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic. Barnardos is concerned about how families living in emergency accommodation are coping with the COVID 19 restrictions. We urge the Government to ensure every family living in homelessness has access to family support at this worrying time.
“During this crisis we are all challenged to adapt our routines and normal ways of life. For families living in emergency accommodation this challenge is nigh on impossible. How do you self-isolate if one member of the family contracts the virus? How do you limit social interactions and practice social distancing when you live in a hub or a hotel room? And crucially, what are parents to do if they fall ill and do not have a family member or friend who can care for their children?
“The challenges facing families are further compounded by the reduction of community supports previously available. Although Barnardos continues to provide essential services, the restrictions on movement within a 2km radius of your home mean services and outlets available to families, may no longer be an option for families.”
“Barnardos has been working to adapt our services to ensure the families we work with are still supported. From delivering food parcels and meals to having socially distanced visits with children and their parents we are working hard to help families cope – but not all children experiencing homelessness are guaranteed such supports.
“Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been heartening. We are all pulling together through a very difficult time; but we must make sure those most vulnerable are not forgotten. The reduction in the number of children living in emergency accommodation is very welcome, but a home is not the only thing a child needs. Children exiting homelessness and those 3,355 children still living in hubs and hotels must have access to family support services”.
For further information, please contact:
Barnardos Press Office: 01 7080442 / 086 0445966