Focus Ireland has called on the next government to put better supports in place for working parents through job security and income support to reduce the risk of family homelessness and poverty.
Much of the economy is re-opening and people are being called back to work but childcare is lagging. Today, June 24th, Focus Ireland is launching the Childcare Prevents Homelessness campaign to highlight the challenges working parents face as they are recalled back to work without normal childcare arrangements being in place.
Focus Ireland warned that there are over 560,000 households* with dependent children include and where all the adults in the household are working. Many of these parents will find it impossible to return to work because childcare is not available.
The charity said that parents who cannot work from home are at risk of losing their income and even their job if supports are not put in place to protect these families. Focus Ireland are calling on the incoming government to ensure parents are protected during these exceptional circumstances through income supports and job security.
Focus Ireland’s #ChildcarePreventsHomelessness campaign is supported by National Women’s Council Ireland, One Family, St. Vincent De Paul, Treoir and Dress for Success.
Launching the campaign today, Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at Focus Ireland said “Focus Ireland believe this is an important campaign to draw people’s attention to factors that can put families and children at risk of homelessness happens. If we want to end the nightmare of family homelessness, we need understand the root causes of it and help people to avoid the slippery slope which can result in them losing their home. ”
Mr. Allen, continued “We have been working with families during the last five years of the family homelessness crisis and we have seen how access to childcare can cause families to lose their footing and slip towards being at risk of homelessness. We know that the current uncertainties over childcare will cause problems for many parents returning to work, and for some this will lead to job loss which may put their home at risk. We wanted to raise a red flag at this point so something can be done long before homes are at risk. “
Director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Orla O’Connor added, “This is a critical moment to establish a comprehensive, public model of early childhood care and education in Ireland, which is essential for women, for families and for children. A public model is the only way to ensure sustainable, quality services with proper salaries for workers and affordability for parents. This will not happen without proper investment which must increase substantially to at least 1% of GDP over the next decade”.
Also expressing support for Focus Ireland’s call to the incoming government, Karen Kiernan CEO of One Family stated “We are very concerned that people parenting alone who are more vulnerable to the lack of available childcare are more at risk of losing their jobs, their incomes and their homes. We already know that it is much more difficult for lone parents to enter and retain employment so more must be done to ensure that they do not unfairly lose their jobs.”
Tricia Keilthy, Head of Social Justice and Policy, The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul added “Low income households are feeling significant pressure to return to work due to growing financial strain. Many have mounting bills from being at home all day and little or no savings to keep them afloat. These families are more likely to rely on informal childcare arrangements such as grandparents, but due to health concerns this is not an option. Without accessible and adequate income supports, families will be pushed further into poverty and a potentially a debt trap”
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