As new numbers show a record 12,441 homeless Focus Ireland calls on government to introduce legislation to protect children who are homeless
• 1770 families now homeless as family homelessness rises 30% in last year
• Shocking total of 3,699 children now homeless
Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless in May reached another new record at 12,441
The figures show a rise of 182 people in one month compared to the 12,259 homeless in April this year.
Focus Ireland maintains the decision of the Government to end the no-fault eviction ban at the end of March this year is a major factor in homelessness rising.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “As the eviction ban ended, we anticipated a surge in homelessness, and these figures regrettably confirm our concerns. It is terrible to see a 30% rise in family homelessness since this time last year. It feels as if the shocking monthly increases in homelessness have stunned the country and left us unable to take action. But this is not inevitable and perhaps we should start by looking at what we can do for the children who are homeless with their families.’
Focus Ireland said that homelessness causes serious trauma for people – especially children. The charity’s family services work with the State to support families who are homeless. Under this work Focus Ireland’s specially trained child support workers support children and help to protect them from the trauma caused by homelessness. But the charity warned that more needs to be done as services are very stretched with the constant increase in the number of people homeless every month.
Focus Ireland emphasised the critical need to provide comprehensive support for children in homelessness, especially those with more complex needs. The charity has called for action in the Budget to fund additional Child Support Workers to ensure all vulnerable children get the support needed while homeless.
Mr Allen explained: “We need more Child Support Workers, funded under Tusla, to ensure that these vulnerable children receive the specialised care and attention they require. We have seen through our work that by investing in dedicated professionals who can address their unique circumstances, we make a significant difference in the lives of these children, offering them the stability, guidance, and support they deserve. It is our collective responsibility to prioritise their long-term well-being and create a society where no child is left without the necessary care and assistance. We have called for this additional investment as one of our key asks in our Pre-Budget Submission.”
As the child homelessness crisis sadly continues to deepen Focus Ireland is also running a campaign which calls on the government to introduce legislation to protect children.
Mr. Allen said: “The government also needs to introduce legislation that requires local authorities to prioritise the best interests of the child in cases of homelessness. It is essential that the interests of the child are considered a matter of urgency when families seek assistance, ensuring their well-being and stability. This legislation should compel local authorities to provide families with safe and secure accommodation, offering the support and protection they desperately need. By enacting such measures, we can take significant strides towards safeguarding the rights and future of every child experiencing homelessness in our society.”
Focus Ireland is urging people to support this campaign by signing an online petition and are asking all TDs to support this Bill when it gets reintroduced. People can sign the petition at https://bit.ly/41l8Z1r
The May 2023 figures reported 1,770 families with 3,699 children homeless.
Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117