Scourge of Child Homelessness Can End

Published date: 
7 Jul 2016
Children’s Rights Alliance: Scourge of Child Homelessness Can End
Thursday, 7 July 2016: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Children’s Rights Alliance has today welcomed the holding of a child homelessness summit, led by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD and her department.  This was a unique child-specific, proactive initiative to tackle the issues surrounding child and youth homelessness. This important summit involved children’s charities, homeless organisations, youth leaders and was attended by the Children’s Rights Alliance and many of its members. The aim was to consult with groups working at the coalface and to feed into the Government’s forthcoming action plan to tackle homelessness. 
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Child homelessness is a scourge that no family should ever endure. A home provides the foundation for almost everything in a child’s life. Emergency action is needed to end the inexcusable misery that families displaced from their homes are currently experiencing. We welcome the leadership and commitment that the Minister and her government has shown today to address child and youth homelessness. We believe that there are immediate, concrete measures available to address this crisis, and we raised these this morning with the Minister. 
Firstly, the use of commercial hotels being used to house people in emergency accommodation is not sustainable for family life. We are calling on Government to carry out a short-term review of the suitability of such accommodation to ensure that children and families are not placed in appropriate commercial hotels and facilities.
Another key concern is around food and nutrition. Families in hotels have no access to cooking facilities living as they do in one bedroom. Families cannot meet their children’s nutritional needs as they are often forced to rely on fast food. Children’s nutrition is suffering as a result. A mapping exercise is needed to find workable solutions that Government can implement in the short-term. 
Finally, our member Safe Ireland, a national domestic violence organisation, has told us that 4,831 requests (in 2014) for domestic violence accommodation could not be met because refuges were full. Refuges remain at capacity levels today. Many of those turned away ended up in emergency homeless accommodation as a result. This is something the Minister is well-placed to address. 
For further information please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: 01 662 9400 / 087 6559067