herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

398 homeless children live in city hotels

Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke
Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke

There are 398 homeless children sleeping in hotels in the city according to Dublin City Council's latest figures.

And in total there are 668 children living in various kinds of emergency accommodation in the capital.

From September 21 to 27, at total of 398 children were put up in hotels with their families.

This figure rose from a similar week-long period from August 18-24, where 164 families were housed in commercial hotels across Dublin, which included 351 dependent children.

disgrace

"It's a national disgrace," said Lord Mayor Christy Burke who requested the figures from Dublin City Council.

"It's a national, disgusting disgrace to expect children to study, to concentrate, to bring in friends, to have stability while enduring this.

"The numbers in themselves show how it's a tsunami of homelessness," stated Mr Burke.

Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Day Centre says that he is feeding hundreds of children daily who then return to hotels for accommodation.

He said that his centre's biggest concern is the children currently experiencing homelessness and how this is affecting their childhood and development.

"It's not the proper way to raise children," Br Crowley told the Herald.

Last week his centre gave out 1,700 food parcels and fed about 700 people for breakfast and 540 for dinner daily.

The latest figures in relation to homeless children showed that there are 126 individuals with dependent children and 53 couples with dependent children without a home.

In the Budget the total amount set aside for homelessness was €55m for 2015 - which represents a €10m increase on this year's figure.

And as winter sets in, Dublin City Council has planned a Cold Weather Initiative to give added assistance to the homeless.

weather

The Cold Weather Response Plan will be implemented across voluntary and statutory homeless services from November.

Under the plan adequate capacity of emergency beds will be ensured for people who are presenting as sleeping rough.

And a collaborative response to manage emergency presentations during the very cold weather is also a priority.

The newly-formed Housing First Service will perform street outreach functions.

It will be operated by Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust.

jfegan@herald.ie

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