Homeless crisis among young people leaving State care growing

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 01:00

A “growing homeless crisis for young people leaving State care” must be addressed if “further tragedies” are to be averted, a report to be published this morning warns.

The housing charity, Focus Ireland, publishes its annual report saying that, as of last month, 30 per cent of the young people leaving care, that it was working with, were either using homelessness services or staying short term on friends’ or families’ couches.

“As of June, out of the 140 young people accessing Focus Ireland aftercare support services in Dublin, Waterford and Limerick, a worrying 22 are using homeless services and 21 are staying in insecure and unstable accommodation (such as sleeping on friends’ couches, staying short term with relatives).”

Some 33 in private rented accommodation were being supported by Focus Ireland’s aftercare support team.

“While many are doing well, the charity’s aftercare staff are worried that some of this number are in serious arrears putting them at risk of becoming homeless. This is due to the fact that they have to ‘top up’ their rent supplement payments as it does not cover the rent,” said a spokesman.

“Focus is working to support them but highly worried some will lose their accommodation.” *

A further 32 were in aftercare residential or transitional projects and 26 in residential /foster care or other residential accommodation. Six more were categorised as “others”.

Transition

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, life president and founder of Focus, described a “growing homeless crisis for young people leaving State care. At least one young person leaves State care every single day. Many of these people make the transition without a problem but others do not. A growing number of vulnerable people are being forced to access homeless services directly from care at the age of 18. This cannot be allowed to continue if we want to prevent future tragedies.”

*This article was amended on July 23rd 2014 to correct an error