The number if youth being affected by homelessness in Ireland is witnessing a drastic hike. Statistics show that in the past three years, the number of homeless youngsters shot up by 78 %. This figure represents those aged between 18 to 24 years.
Young people have been hit hard
As at February 2017, 776 youngsters were registered as homeless and were placed in emergency accommodation. Currently, they represent approximately 10 percent of the total number of homeless people which crossed a record of 7,421. The homeless youth is emerging as a distinct group on its own, triggering concern from charities.
Mike Allen, Director of Focus Ireland stated that the principal reason for this situation is that young people do not really have access to social welfare schemes. He pinpoints that there is always an “underlying reason” such as the absence of support from State, family issues, mental health problems, economic pressures, and unemployment. Many have been exposed to physical and mental abuse, pregnancy, neglect. Certain have run away from care placement while others have been involved in crime. These young people are generally left on their own without any support whatsoever. Mike Allen fears that these youngsters may become the “forgotten homeless” if no prompt action is taken.
First solutions proposed to address this problem
Focus Ireland proposes a ‘Housing First for Youth’ scheme to allow homeless young people aged 18 to 24 to obtain an accommodation as quickly as possible. The next step in their approach is to offer intensive and personalized supports like health care, training, counseling, education and financial advice amongst other services.
The number of homeless children is also on the rise
Latest figures show that 2,137 children were placed in emergency accommodation in Dublin as at end of March 2017. Nationwide, the total number of homeless children is 2,563. These figures are at their highest rate both in Dublin and across the country respectively. Compared to February 2017, the figure witnessed an increase of 24 percent in the capital, while at a national level, the increase was 28.5 percent.
‘Spring count’ reveals alarming figures
A count of rough sleepers carried out on the night of 4 April 2017, also referred to as the ‘Spring count’, revealed that 138 people were ‘sleeping’ in the streets of the capital while 57 were bedded out on the ground at the Merchants Quay night café. The ‘Spring count’ in 2016 represented a total of 102 rough sleepers in the capital.
If in the past most homeless people were single adults, in the last three years more and more families became homeless.
Social housing does not match the reality
A recent official assessment of social housing published in December 2016 concluded that 61,600 households were eligible for social housing. This represents one family out of five who have been registered for more than five years. The Government estimates that solely 35,573 households on the list need a new home, under the Social Housing Strategy.
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Source : https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0417/868215-housing-homeless/
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