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Dublin: 9°C Wednesday 26 January 2022

More than 1,000 children under 8 will be homeless this Christmas

There are more than 1,600 children living in emergency accommodation.

Image: child image via Shutterstock

RIGHT NOW ACROSS Ireland 1,638 children are homeless.

More than 1,000 of these children living in emergency accommodation are under the age of 8, according to an analysis by Focus Ireland of age profiles.

20% of children in homeless families are between the ages of 9 and 12.

“We held a major international conference on family homelessness in Dublin earlier this year, and from this we expected to find a very young profile for the children in homeless families, but the huge number of very young children is deeply shocking”, commented Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy in Focus Ireland.

The international evidence also shows the long-term damage which can be done to children who experience the insecurity and trauma of homelessness at this young age. It is little over year ago that we put the rights of children in our constitution, but when you think of these 1,000 very young children living in emergency accommodation at Christmas it reminds you of how much more we have to do to make that a reality.

Latest figures for Dublin showed the number of rough sleepers had dropped, but homeless numbers in general had still increased. In one night at the end of November, there were 152 people in Dublin without a safe place to sleep.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said: “I don’t want to see any children in emergency accommodation”.

He said there was obviously a lot of work to do, but his department had dedicated “a huge amount of resources” to the issue already this year. Kelly said the problem remains his “number one priority”.

The final report by Focus Ireland will also look at the schools which homeless children attend and the travel times involved from the emergency accommodation to the schools.

Read: The number of rough sleepers has gone down in Dublin (but there are more homeless people)>

Read: 1,571 Irish children will spend their Christmas in shelters>

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