Belfast Telegraph

Charity to deliver petition urging national Youth Homeless Strategy

Focus Ireland has warned that the crisis continues to deepen with the number of homeless 18 to 24-year-olds soaring by 82% in four years.

Focus Ireland is to deliver a petition signed by over 10,700 people calling for a National Youth Homeless Strategy (Victoria Jones/PA)
Focus Ireland is to deliver a petition signed by over 10,700 people calling for a National Youth Homeless Strategy (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

A homeless charity is to deliver a petition signed by over 10,700 people calling for a national Youth Homeless Strategy.

Focus Ireland has warned that the crisis continues to deepen with the number of homeless 18 to 24-year-olds soaring by 82% in four years.

The petition is calling on all political parties to include a commitment to a national Youth Homeless Strategy in their manifestos for the forthcoming general election.

The petition will be handed to the Children and Youth Affairs spokespersons of all the political parties outside Leinster House.

Young people have been left behind throughout the housing crisis and this has got to end Mike Allen, Focus Ireland

The End Youth Homelessness campaign has received a huge response since Focus Ireland launched the campaign at Body & Soul festival in June.

The homeless charity say that young people are bearing the brunt of the housing and homelessness crisis and are six times more likely to experience discrimination by private landlords.

According to the August homeless figures from the Department of Housing there are 910 young people living in emergency accommodation.

Focus Ireland advocacy director Mike Allen said: “Our younger generation are empowered agents of change and will not accept the inequality they face.

“The campaign has also received support from a broad range of people across civil society indicating great demand for action.

“Young people have been left behind throughout the housing crisis and this has got to end.”

He added: “Young adults are most likely to bunk-in with friends and extended family to keep a roof over their heads.

“They are part of the hidden homeless and are not included in the Government’s official homelessness figures. This needs to be addressed as a matter of great urgency.”

Focus Ireland said that a Youth Homeless Strategy must include actions to ensure:

– Prevent young people from becoming homeless in the first place. The Government must give tenants greater security so young people can plan for their future.

– If young people become homeless the services and emergency accommodation they receive must be designed to meet their specific needs.

– Young LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk of homelessness across the world. Homeless services should be LGBTQ+ – friendly and staff should be trained to respond to specific needs.

– The Government must guarantee that all young people leaving State Care have a secure home.

PA

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