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“Nearly one third of homeless people in the state are children”- Sandra McLellan TD

8 May, 2015

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Children Affairs Sandra McLellan TD has described as shameful the fact that there are over 1,000 homeless children living precariously or on the streets of this state.

Deputy McLellan was commenting on new figures published by the Department of the Environment, which illustrate that this is an increase of over one fifth since the beginning of the year.

“The numbers show that there were 3,081 homeless people in the state in March. 1,054 were children - practically a third. This is an outrage. And yet, very little coverage has been given to this shocking news.

It’s a shameful indication of where this Government’s priorities lie when we have this many children, possibly more, living without a home. We know that the greater Dublin area has twice as many homeless people as the rest of the country.

This is in the context of Government's proposed changes in rent allowance which are due to come into force next year. Merchant's Quay Ireland (MQI) has warned that this will inevitably increase numbers without a home. The damage caused to children as a result of being moved from pillar to post with zero security is detrimental to their social and educational development.

Living in in emergency or temporary accommodation should not be the only alternative.

Rather than cutting rent relief for families, which will only increase the homelessness epidemic, government should be providing solutions through social and low cost housing.

The Department of Social Protection's refusal to increase rent supplement rates is having a devastating impact on children as families can’t afford the rents landlords are now demanding.

Evictions are out of control. Focus Ireland has estimated that the cost to the taxpayer of having so many families living in B&B’s and hotel rooms is untenable. And the organisation has correctly warned that the social cost to the families and to the future of these children is incalculable. Where is this Government’s commitment to children’s welfare? 

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