Traditionally the majority of homeless people were single and often living in urban areas, particularly in Dublin, however now the crisis has spread to all parts of the country with a rapid increase in the number of families becoming homeless.
According to latest research from Focus Ireland, there are currently 1,754 families (with 3,824 children) accessing emergency accommodation.
These figures do not include the ‘hidden homeless’ which are those staying temporarily with family or friends. Focus Ireland also note that the majority of families becoming homeless had their last stable home in the private rented sector and the crisis in this sector is the immediate cause of their homelessness. Factors contributing to this crisis are landlord selling their properties, a shortage of properties to rent, a scarcity of properties accepting rent supplement and high rents.
Impact of Homelessness on Families
Everyone has a fundamental human right to a home. The stress of not having a permanent home and the uncertainty this can create for the future can impact on the emotional well-being of parents, who may also experience an additional worry about how the situation will affect their children and young people.
• If you are concerned about your mental health, or that of your child/ren, please contact your GP for an individual consultation. Your GP may be able to refer you and / or your child/ren to further supports.
• Whether your child/ren remain in the same school, or have to change schools, it may be helpful to talk to their teacher to update them on your family’s situation and to see if they can offer any further supports to your child/ren ( e.g. Home School Liaison Officer or Guidance Counsellor) to help them cope with the situation.
• It is important to have regular age-appropriate conversations with your children about how they are feeling. They may be feeling anxious about the future, angry, frustrated or a sense of loss if they have had to move away from their friends and school. Remind them that you are there to listen and support. Childline is also always available for any child or young person up to the age of 18 in Ireland who would like to talk about any topic on their mind.
You can also contact the ISPCC's support line, Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm.
Some resources for Parents, Children and Young people
• Citizens Information Centres provide free, impartial, information, advice and advocacy including information on homeless services from more than 214 locations around the country. Citizens Information also provides a nationwide phone service on 076 107 4000. This service is available from Monday to Friday. http://citizensinformation.ie/en/
• The Homeless Person's Unit Freephone number is available on 1800 724 724 for advice and information on emergency accommodation.
• Focus Ireland’s Advice and Information service is available on 01 6712555. Focus can help you find a bed for the night, help you find food, help you with money and employment issues, and provide advice and support
• Threshold is a charity whose aim is to secure a right to housing, particularly for households experiencing the problems of poverty and exclusion. They offer a variety of services including a freephone national helpline on 1800 454 454. https://www.threshold.ie/
• The Peter McVerry Trust is a charity that provides a number services for homeless people. https://www.pmvtrust.ie
• The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority in response to homelessness in Dublin https://www.homelessdublin.ie/homeless/help
• Crosscare (call 01 836 0011) work in the Dublin area and offer support to those affected by homelessness. They also try to meet the needs of young people in the work that they do. https://www.crosscare.ie/
• The Salvation Army extends a helping hand to those who are homeless, friendless and in need. They have three centres in Dublin. More information is available on their website. https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/republic-of-ireland
• The Simon Community (call 01 671 1606) work in lots of areas throughout Ireland with people experiencing, or in danger of experiencing, homelessness, providing services and support to those who need it most. https://www.simon.ie/
• Society of St Vincent De Paul (call 01 703 6100) operate 17 hostels nationwide as well as breakfast clubs, youth clubs, and summer holiday programmes. Their homeless agency will provide names of hostels. https://svp.ie/home.aspx
You can read how we presented information about homelessness to children and young people through our Childline.ie site here.