Families in emergency accommodation 'relying on takeaways and fast food'

A new report is highlighting the impact of homelessness on the nutrition of children and families

Families in emergency accommodation 'relying on takeaways and fast food'

File photo. Picture by: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

Homelessness is having a stark impact on the nutrition of families, a homelessness charity is warning.

A new report from Focus Ireland highlights the difficulties families in emergency accommodation are facing in accessing healthy meals.

The lack of cooking & storage facilities available to families, as well as restrictions on communal kitchen facilities, mean some families have to rely on fast food or basic meals such as noodles and instant pasta.

Food poverty expert Dr Michelle Share from Trinity College explained: “It’s not just about food and nutrition: families have to rely on takeaways and convenience foods.

"It makes it harder for children to develop good eating habits as they have to eat in socially unacceptable circumstances, like dining on the bed, or on the floor, lined up at a counter and sometimes even under CCTV surveillance."

She added: “They get used to dining in communal settings or with tourists - rather than as a family around their own table. All of this means a loss of dignity."

Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy with Focus Ireland, suggested that "there's no access to decent, nutritious food to these families at any time".

It comes as record figures released last week show almost 8,000 people - including 2,895 children - are now homeless in Ireland.