Housing And Homelessness
With the number of homeless children and families in Ireland at unprecedented levels, the ISPCC is urging policy-makers to recognise children’s individual rights and to take action to protect thousands of childhoods.
The ISPCC continues to research developments internationally and uses these to inform its policy position, that changes required in this area include the introduction of legislation limiting the use of emergency accommodation. There was significant disappointment when the government failed to meet their stated objective of ending the use of inappropriate emergency accommodation by 1st July 2017.
Significant numbers of children in Ireland are now living long-term in emergency accommodation, where even their basic needs are not being met. This must not continue. The government must set and work to a meaningful target, to ensure that children are no longer accommodated for long periods of time in this way.
ISPCC Influencing Policy - Background To Policy Position
Between 2014 and 2016 the numbers of children who were homeless with their families had tripled and the ISPCC was encountering more families accessing services from hotel rooms and over-crowded extended family homes. Calls to Childline began to reflect the worry of some children with regard to losing their homes and the realities of living in unsuitable long-term emergency accommodation.
The ISPCC’s involvement with the issue of homelessness, as the national child protection charity, is informed by its experience of providing services to children and knowledge of child protection and welfare. Approaching this issue from a child protection perspective, the ISPCC identified a myriad of ways in which children are not being adequately protected and many of their rights as individuals are not being respected.
In January 2016 the ISPCC made recommendations to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, regarding the standards required to ensure children’s safety and welfare in emergency accommodation. The Committee concluded that the State must take all necessary measures to address the needs of those living in inadequate accommodation by increasing the availability of social housing and ensuring that all accommodation provided is appropriate to the needs of children.
The ISPCC shared its concerns with the Dáil Committee on Housing and Homelessness by making a submission which included a number of urgent recommendations. These recommendations included the need to; end the practice of placing families in hotel and B&B emergency accommodation and to legislate to outlaw same; develop minimum physical and management standards for such facilities and improve data collection and collation to ensure a needs-led approach to supporting and housing families.
Current Policy Priorities for Homelessness
- Setting target to cease the use of unsuitable commercial
- Standards in emergency accommodation including
- Legislation outlawing use of unsuitable accommodation
- Homelessness data; capture and publication
Better Outcomes Brighter Futures
As a member of the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures Advisory Council Subgroup on Homelessness, the ISPCC continues to work for further commitments and results from government and other key stakeholders to ensure that children are provided with adequate and secure accommodation and ultimately secure and stable homes.