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Government has failed dismally to tackle child homelessness – Mitchell

13 February, 2018 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has called on the Government to take immediate steps to tackle the scourge of child homelessness and child poverty.

Speaking following the launch of the Children’s Rights Alliance’s annual Report Card, Deputy Mitchell said:

“The number of homeless children has hit a record level this year, and it is totally unacceptable that we are seeing thousands of children growing-up in emergency accommodation.

“Ultimately, the increasing number of children experiencing homelessness is a direct consequence of an ongoing dismal failure by Government to meet social housing needs. The Housing Minister needs to get to grips with the situation and work with local councils to provide truly affordable homes and social housing. That will require providing Local Authorities with multi-annual funding commitments to facilitate forward planning.

“Another issue raised in the report is the knock-on effects which long-term stays in emergency accommodation is having on the nutritional health of children. Food poverty is a constant problem for families living in emergency accommodation who are forced to rely on convenience and fast-foods due to lack of access to or inadequate cooking and food preparation facilities. That cannot be allowed to continue.”

Deputy Mitchell noted the improvements in some areas such as child protection, saying:

“While we have seen improvements in certain areas, this report makes it clear that there is still serious work needed to bring about a society which we can be proud of, and one which puts the rights and wellbeing of children at its very core.” 

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