Belfast Telegraph

Record number of children now homeless

More than 3,000 children are now homeless - a record figure, according to the latest data.

Official numbers on families forced into emergency accommodation like B&Bs, hotels and hubs showed there were 3,048 youngsters and teenagers with no home to go to at the end of August.

The children's charity Barnardos said the impacts are devastating.

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at the charity, said it had been hoped, naively, that the 3,000 level would be seen a ceiling.

"The experience of being homeless - of living in emergency accommodation, is hugely detrimental to a child's well-being," she said.

"Parents that we work with are reporting high levels of anxiety in their children as they try to cope with a life of uncertainty.

"These experiences and memories will stick with these children forever. Every day in homelessness is a day too long for a child."

The official figures - released by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Go ver nment - showed a total of 8,270 people were homeless including 5,222 adults. The report also showed 1,442 families were homeless.

There was a slight drop in the number of homeless children in Dublin.

The Peter McVerry Trust warned that oversight of landlords and insecure tenancies were a major cause of rising numbers of homeless.

The most recent figures released by the Department of Housing show that 8,270 people were registered as living in emergency and temporary accommodation during the last week of August 2017.

Since the beginning of 2017, there's been a net increase of 140 people becoming homeless each month. These figures point to a 23% projected rise in homelessness for 2017.

Chief executive Pat Doyle said the agency was s eeing an increasing number of people becoming homeless after living in the private rental sector.

'We need to see continued action from Government to deal with the rising cost of rents and housing," Mr Doyle said.

"Peter McVerry Trust, and other charities in the sector, are facing an extremely challenging situation to provide enough emergency accommodation, and we therefore recognise the immense challenge that exists in providing an adequate level of housing solutions."

Focus Ireland welcomed the reductions secured in Dublin, with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive helping to support 47 families into a secure home in August.

The charity's advocacy director Mike Allen said: "T he fact that the number of families homeless nationwide has hit a record total shows the crisis is also spreading more around the country, and shows the nightmare of homelessness is still very much a reality for a rising number of families and children."

The Budget will be announced on World Homeless Day.

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