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14.53 17 Nov 2019


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Focus Ireland has revealed that 12% of children in families currently supported by the charity were born into homelessness.

According to the charity, of the 1,215 children in 580 families it supports in Dublin, 143 of these children were born into families who were homeless.

However, due to funding deficiencies, only 9% of the children in those families have access to a child support worker to help them cope with the problems associated with homelessness.

The figures were released today as Focus Ireland launched its annual Christmas appeal.

There are currently 10,400 people homeless in Ireland, including almost 4,000 children.

The charity's president and founder Sr Stan said had "never seen it this bad with many babies now being born into homelessness".

She said: "Being homeless causes terrible trauma to any family or individual but it is hurting children the most.

"Babies are living in tiny hotel rooms where they don’t even have enough room to learn how to crawl properly.

The campaign, which highlights that babies are being born into homelessness, features a mother who was pregnant when the family lost their home.

The woman explained: “I had just found out I was pregnant when our landlord told us he was selling the house we were renting.

"Our world fell apart. We were desperate – searching day and night for somewhere new to stay.

She said while looking for a safe place to stay was exhausting, she always had a "terrible fear" over not knowing where the family would be when the baby was born.

She says the family, including her partner and two children, had to stay in a room in a B&B as there was no affordable accommodation for them.

Once her baby was born in the hospital, she called Focus Ireland.

Sr Stan confirmed that the family were placed in emergency accommodation for a while but then found a home.

Family Centre

Focus Ireland also confirmed today that it is set to launch the first Family Centre for families who are homeless in Dublin before the end of the year.

The charity said it is relying on donations to fund this service as it has not yet has received any State funding.

The space is intended to be a place for families to feed their children, do washing and help with homework, as well as having staff from the charity on hand to provide support to help people out of homelessness.

Sr Stan said: “We have had to set up this centre to help families while they are homeless but the real answer is of course that we urgently need more social housing and better prevention to end this crisis.”

The charity is urging people to donate, as 89 cents of every euro received goes directly to services to support people who are homeless and those at risk.

Main image: Sr Stan launching Focus Ireland's Christmas appeal (with the charity's youngest supporter, 3-week old Amélie Conney, and mother her Aoife who works for the charity). Photo: Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland

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