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Dublin: 14°C Saturday 2 July 2022

This video of a homeless boy with cerebral palsy is going viral

The video was posted as part of a new awareness campaign by the group Inner City Helping Homeless.

ON MONDAY, THE group Inner City Helping Homeless will mark a National Day against Child Homelessness.

According to figures for June, there were 1,365 families with 2,895 children staying in emergency accommodation.

As part of its campaign to highlight the cases of children who are homeless, the group has set up the #MyNameIs campaign on social media to tell the personal stories behind the figures.

ICCH CEO Anthony Flynn told TheJournal.ie that their own figures suggest that there may be more children than adults homeless by Christmas 2018 unless urgent action is taken.

“We need to kickstart a conversation about child homelessness in this country,” he said. “People hear the figures but they don’t always get a chance to see what’s really going on, and that’s #MyNameIs is all about.

What we’re trying to do is bring children to the forefront of homelessness.

The group has been posting on social media, highlighting cases they are familiar with, and one of them is that of David, a nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy who has been living in emergency accommodation for two years.

“David’s story really pulls at the heartstrings,” Flynn said. “But it drives home the point that we have children with disabilities who are homeless. They have specific needs, and those needs may not be met while living in a hotel or b&b.”

As of last night, the video has been viewed over 220,000 times, he said.

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ICHH will undertake a major campaign in the next week to try to raise awareness of the plight of children who are homeless and Flynn said a range of groups and bodies need to come together to solve the crisis.

“We need to involve the educational sector, the health sector and the government of course,” he said.

We have a situation where 1,800 children will be returning to school now in the next week who are homeless. Their teacher may not know. Their classmate sitting next to them may not know. We need to get the message out there that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Ensuring that the homelessness debate is not a party political issue is important, Flynn said, and getting everybody behind finding solutions is the right approach.

As part of this campaign, placards will be placed all over Dublin by Monday morning, featuring the #MyNameIs message and a call for people to share the hashtag to create a wider conversation.

“We’ve got the Arts Council and Trinity College involved too,” Flynn said. “After a week or so, we’ll take the placards down and then we’re going to build a house out of them.

A house that’s full of children’s faces. The visual impact of that alone will be so strong. Having it outside the day the Dáil resumes may make a few people sit up and take notice.

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Sean Murray

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