Focus Ireland has welcomed a new paper by the Faculties of Paediatrics and Public Health at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) published on International Children’s Day today which highlights the unacceptable health risks and harm experienced by thousands of children affected by Ireland’s housing crisis.
The paper outlines how spending time homeless can potentially have long-term health implications for homeless children who into adulthood. Focus Ireland said the key recommendations of the RCPI report reflect their own research and frontline experience, and also repeated its long-standing calls for the Government to put in place a specific family homelessness strategy along with a cast iron deadline which states that no family or individual be allowed to remain homeless for longer than 6 months
Commenting on the report Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said:
“This is an important report which highlights the terrible damage being homeless is causing to children in Ireland. On International World Children’s day the harsh reality is that there are nearly 4,000 children homeless in Ireland. It is no longer just a Dublin issue as 1,000 of these children who are homeless live outside our capital city. The paper echoes much of the experience or our frontline services who work with thousands of children across Ireland. Being homeless causes terrible trauma to any family or individual but it is hurting children the most. We are seeing this through our own work supporting these families. Babies are living in tiny hotel rooms where they don’t even have enough room to learn how to crawl properly.”
Focus Ireland said that it is working hard to support these children , however, due to funding only 9% of the children in families the charity supports in Dublin has access to a child support worker. These specially trained staff help children to cope with the difficult problems caused by homelessness.
Meanwhile, Focus Ireland is set to launch the first ever Family Centre for families who are homeless in Dublin before the end of the year as part of its response to the deepening family homelessness crisis. The charity said it has not yet has received any State funding for this innovative service so it is relying on donations to carry out this work and to also keep its services going nationwide. The charity said it helped over 1,200 families to secure a home and move on from homelessness in the last two years.
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