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Young parents suffer family 'tipping point' into homelessness

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Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin. Photo: Collins

Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin. Photo: Collins

Sinn Fein’s Eoin O Broin. Photo: Collins

Strained family dynamics can be the "tipping point" that leads young parents into homelessness, a study has found.

Focus Ireland released a report it commissioned into problems experienced by homeless couples aged between 18 and 24 with children, which showed their needs are not well understood.

"Homelessness often occ-urred for families following what could be referred to as a 'tipping point' within their family home," the Young Families in the Homeless Crisis: Challenges and Solutions report said.

The report, led by University College Cork (UCC) researcher Dr Sharon Lambert, continued: "The challenging nature of an overcrowded, multi-generational home could make for a chaotic family dynamic, wherein young children required continual childcare and where parents and grandparents were deprived of privacy."

Eighteen families gave detailed interviews for the report, 15 of whom were in Dublin and three in Cork.

Among its key recommendations was the establishment of a new "family mediation and support service" to prevent such families becoming homeless.

The report called for the provision of sufficient key workers for all families to support them during homelessness.

Young parents also reported how repeated unsuccessful eff-orts to secure a rented property often made them feel "judged and dejected".

The report said there should be a comprehensive strategy to tackle family homelessness.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy and research Mike Allen said: "These young parents for whom homelessness is the very first experience of living independently of their own parents have a good claim to be recognised as among the most vulnerable of the vulnerable."

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has claimed the true number of people experiencing homelessness is nearly 13,000.

Accused

Its housing spokesman, Eoin O Broin, accused the Government of underestimating the number of adults and children in emergency accommodation.

"If you don't count the problem properly, then how can you put enough resources into tackling it?" he said.

Official Department of Housing figures have hovered just under 10,000 in recent months.

A request for comment has been made to the Department of Housing.


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