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Over 3,000 children in Ireland are homeless today, living in emergency accommodation. Thousands more are experiencing hidden homelessness – living in overcrowded, unsuitable or unstable accommodation. No child should worry about where they’ll sleep tonight.
Life for a family in emergency accommodation is difficult. Eating, studying, sleeping, playing, dressing and clothes-drying all happen within the same small four walls. Children share beds with their siblings and often their parents.
Families live out of suitcases, having given away or stored many of their belongings, never settling, always aware that they may have to move on.
I cried for the first two weeks in there, I sobbed my heart out in the bathroom, it makes you feel like a failure as a mother. Parent living in emergency accommodation
In addition to the over 3,000 children living in emergency accommodation, there are thousands more who are not in emergency accommodation but are also without a home. These are the hidden homeless - living with family or friends, often in overcrowded and inappropriate accommodation but not formally reported in homelessness statistics.
Having secure and appropriate accommodation as a child, somewhere to call home, is fundamental to development. Barnardos continues to highlight the impact that being homeless has on a child and continues to call for long term solutions to be expedited.