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Dublin: 20°C Sunday 26 September 2021

Pics: Inside Ireland's first café for homeless young people

It opened this week.

A NEW CAFÉ for homeless children and young people has been opened in Dublin.

The brightly-coloured café was opened by the Peter McVerry Trust, the homeless and housing charity, during the week.

The charity has said that if current trends continue, there will be almost 2,500 people aged 24 or younger in homelessness by the end of this year.

Cutting ribbon (L-R) Pat Doyle CEO Peter McVerry Trust, Owen Binchy President of Clongowes Union, Dr Niall Muldoon Children’s Ombudsman, Fr Peter McVerry

It’s the country’s first youth café for children and young people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

“This service is incredibly important as it provides a safe and supportive space to vulnerable young people,” said charity’s CEO Pat Doyle.

In addition to using the service to provide a wide range of services during the day we will also be rolling out evening and weekend hours as the service grows and establishes itself. Initially we will open one evening per week and work with young people aged 18-25, and then offer one night a week dedicated to homeless children.

Youth Cafe 3

The service has been in the works for some time, and users had highlighted that an out-of-hours component was badly needed.

They clearly told us they needed somewhere they would be welcomed, somewhere they could go and relax during the day and evenings when they might not have anywhere else to go.

Youth Cafe 4

It was all made possible thanks to donors and capital funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Clongowes Union.

The unfortunate reality is that we are likely to have 2,500 young people aged 24 or young in homeless services by Christmas.

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Doyle urged the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and TUSLA to “play a much more prominent and proactive role in helping children and families experiencing homelessness.”

Youth Cafe 2

The Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, said that homelessness for children affects their family life, their schooling, relationships, and their human rights.

Homelessness is a hurdle that too many children and young people are being asked to negotiate and we, as a society, need to work much harder to prevent this trend from growing and ultimately, reverse it.

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