Homeless children need more supports

Feelings of insecurity and shame are common
  • Deborah Condon

Better supports need to be put in place for children who are experiencing homelessness, Barnardos has said.

Recent figures revealed that in February, there were over 10,000 homeless people living in emergency accommodation, including almost 3,800 children.

According to Barnardos, the increase in the number of homeless children is ‘shocking but sadly not surprising'. It insisted that no child should be forced to spend any time without a home and it is calling on the Government to do more to tackle this problem.

"We are urging politicians to place a six month cap on the use of emergency accommodation to house families and to put better supports in place for children who are experiencing homelessness," said Barnardos CEO, Suzanne Connolly.

She pointed out that for children, homelessness is a time ‘of deep uncertainty, and for some, it can have serious, long-lasting effects'.

"For parents too, homelessness causes extreme stress as they struggle to maintain normality and shield their child or children from the harsh realities of living in emergency accommodation.

"But, it doesn't have to be this way. Families needn't struggle alone. Services, such as those provided by Barnardos, help parents navigate and cope with the emotional, social and practical challenges living in emergency accommodation places on a family," Ms Connolly said.

She noted that children may not understand why they have to live in a hotel or hub, and they may feel like it is because they have done something wrong.

"Boredom, insecurity and feelings of loss or shame are common. By providing the children experiencing the trauma of homelessness with a dedicated support worker, the Government could make sure they get the emotional and social tools they need to cope with the challenges they face. It is high time politicians took action," Ms Connolly added.


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