James - Age 16

James is LOST to homelessness. He is tall with freckles and brown hair. He has been sleeping rough for the last three nights. The days are tough but it’s the nights that scare him. Once the shops shut and the street lights come on, he knows he has nothing or nobody to help him.

Two years ago his family were evicted from their home, a place they had lived in for most of James’s life. They moved to his granny’s house while they looked for somewhere else but 2 years later they’re still searching. The house is over-crowded and stressful. James was only allowed to bring one box of belongings with him. It still sits at the end of the couch where he slept.

In the beginning, James tried to make the most of it but as the weeks and months went by he started to withdraw from his friends and family. Then his sadness turned to anger. He began acting out at home and stopped going to school. He developed anxiety and finds it difficult to trust people.

James didn’t tell his parents he was leaving. Initially, he moved in with a friend but that didn’t work out. He was determined to make his own way in the world but he now finds himself on the street. Each time somebody steps over him or gives him a dirty look, the more worthless he feels. He is desperately alone and doesn’t know who to turn to.

Over 3,000 children in Ireland are homeless today and tens of thousands more live in fear of homelessness in overcrowded, unsuitable or unstable accommodation. No child should worry about whether they will wake up in the same bed tomorrow as they did today.

What is Barnardos doing?

Barnardos is working with James’ parents to support them while they struggle with the stress of being homeless and unable to find appropriate accommodation for their family. The project worker is assisting the family in finding James and will be on hand to offer him support and reconnect him with his school. Barnardos adds our voice to other organisations working directly with homeless families calling for more immediate action to end this crisis. Barnardos is also a member of the Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness.

What can I do?

Sign the petition and take action on child homelessness. The number of children affected by homelessness in Ireland is growing every day. It is up to us all to change this story. It is up to us all to tackle this injustice. Sign our petition now calling on the Government to guarantee that no child spends more than six months in emergency accommodation.