Focus on Children

Focus Ireland campaigned for many years for a government commitment to end homelessness. So, we welcome the commitment to end homelessness by 2030 which is included in the new government strategy Housing for All.

The pathway to 2030 will be long and hard but we believe that the best start would be to make ending child homelessness the first step of this journey.

All homelessness is wrong, but it hurts children the most as it causes trauma [1], contributes to malnutrition [2], can do life-long damage to children[3].

That is why we are asking you to support our #FocusOnChildren campaign.

1. Ensure that all local authorities put ‘the best interests of child’ at the heart of their response to families that are homeless.

In 2019, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan proposed a law to ensure that local authorities would have to put the ‘best interest’ of children at the centre of their decision making when responding to a family who is homeless. Every party supported the new law – but it was never passed. We want it re-introduced and passed into law.

2. Ensure that all children who need a child support worker one have prompt access to one.

Over 400 children that are homeless with their families need the help of a trained Child Support Worker, but only 100 get that support. Child Support Workers can significantly reduce the long-term harm caused by homelessness. Using money from the European Child Guarantee, every child who needs a support worker should have access to one.

3. Establish a taskforce to review the impact of housing insecurity on one parent families and to develop solutions.

Lone-parent families are more likely to be homeless than other households because a greater number live in poverty.  Many live in insecure housing and some are forced into homelessness due anomalies in housing supports. An expert taskforce could identify and solve these anomalies.