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'Being homeless was so overwhelming. I never felt safe. I never felt the kids were safe'

Focus Ireland has brought 300 families out of homelessness.

Image: Leah Farrell

HOMELESS CHARITY FOCUS Ireland has released a report detailing the impact homelessness has on families and young children as it emerged that it helped 300 families find a home.

The report found that parents in families who were previously homeless fear that the experience may have long-term impacts on their children. It also outlines how parents who were homeless for longer periods of time reported greater long-term impacts on their children.

So far this year, Focus Ireland has supported over 300 families to move out of homelessness and get on with their lives . The charity said this report will help it to refine its services to help greatly reduce and eliminate any longer term impact on children who have been homeless.

One parent told how she split up with her parent when they because homeless and another man told of how he lost his job. Another parent said: “Being homeless was so overwhelming. I never felt safe. I never felt the kids were safe.”

Focus Ireland CEO Ashley Balbirnie said: “This study is the first time we have gone back to 25 of the families who have helped to secure a home and asked them what they thought of our services

“The researchers asked parents what could have been done better and most importantly what each parent thought had been the impact of homelessness on their children. “

“However, this report shows that a period of homelessness can often have longer term impact on families and family life in general.

“It is clear of course that preventing homelessness is the best response but the reality is that while we manage to help one family a day to secure a home another 2 or 3 become homeless the same day. While this crisis continues we need to listen carefully to parents and refine our services to meet their needs and those of their children.”

Earlier this week, it emerged the vast majority of Irish people don’t believe that this government is tackling the homeless crisis, a poll for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live has indicated.

In a study carried out by Amarách Research on over 1,000 Irish adults, 74% of people said that they didn’t feel homelessness was being tackled by this government, while 18% said they did.

A further 8% said they didn’t know.

The government has been forced into repeated explanations, clarifications and comments on what their assessment is of the housing crisis in Ireland.

This was brought on after the Taoiseach was asked to comment on why Ireland’s rate of homelessness was at an all time high, and he answered by calling Ireland’s rate of homelessness low “compared with our peers”.

But what’s better than that is that we don’t think that’s good enough and we want to continue to reduce homelessness in the years ahead.

In a housing budget announcement in October, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said Ireland’s rate of homelessness was “low by international standards, which is a good thing”. He and Taoiseach Varadkar have repeated the claim a number of times since.

But when that claim was examined by TheJournal.ie‘s FactCheck team it found that that claim was “unproven”, it is very difficult to compare figures in any meaningful way across different nations.

Read: ‘There’s nothing normal about living by the side of the road with your children’

Read: FactCheck: Does Ireland really have a low rate of homelessness by international standards?

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