Nearly 700 children now in emergency accommodation

Focus Ireland says ‘child welfare crisis’ requires urgent Government intervention

More than half (62 per cent) of these children are with their families in hotel or B&B emergency accommodation, often sharing one room. Photograph: Thinkstock

More than half (62 per cent) of these children are with their families in hotel or B&B emergency accommodation, often sharing one room. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

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There are almost 700 children living in emergency accommodation in the capital, the highest level since the housing crisis began, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

The executive, which oversees homeless services, says the number of families losing their homes is “unabating”.

In late October, there were 1,101 people in families – 680 children and their 421 parents – in all types of emergency accommodation. The children are in 307 families, 193 headed by single parents and 114 by couples.

Last November there were 128 families in emergency accommodation in Dublin.

Sources within the sector say most are on low incomes and had been getting rent supplement. These families have become homeless in the past six months for the first time.

“Demand for emergency accommodation is unabating despite the major efforts being made to support families to stay in their homes,” a spokeswoman for the executive said.

Homeless children

More than half (62 per cent) of these children are with their families in hotel or B&B emergency accommodation, often sharing one room and with highly limited access to cooking facilities or none at all.

The remainder are in supported emergency accommodation.

The latest figures from Focus Ireland, the lead agency supporting homeless families in Dublin, show 45 families were referred to them in October, 41 of those had never been homeless before. A year ago the charity was seeing eight new families a month.

Describing the numbers as a “child welfare crisis” the charity is calling for immediate intervention by the Government, including an urgent increase in the rent-supplement caps.

Rent-supplement caps have not changed since July last year, though rents in the capital have increased sharply.