What of our children? Homeless families risk rough sleeping

There are now more than 1,000 homeless families for the first time and more than 2,000 children – as hotels used for emergency accommodation fill up for tourist season.

Four families had to be placed in adult hostels in the last week, with children sleeping on blow up beds on the floor, according to the Irish Times.

The paper also reported that Focus, a homeless charity has warned the Government may have to “commandeer” hotel rooms to actually stop families being put on to the streets as tourism season gets underway.

Families with young children are increasingly being placed in to unsuitable adult hostels because hotel rooms cannot be found for them.

The newspaper also reported that a mother and her two youngest children were taken in to Cedar House, a facility for women with addiction issues and other needs, while the father, was placed with the three older children in to Haven House, a male adult hostel on blow up beds.

Ireland Today has also learnt that a lot of children are unable to play or invite friends round to hotels where many currently live and parents fear their development, socially and in academically is being stifled by such cramped and abnormal living conditions.

Housing charity Threshold is appearing before the Dáil Housing and Homelessness committee this morning.  The group was set up to find solutions to the crisis.

230,000 properties are boarded up across the country and the Government is now considering plans to seize land or tax properties to stop owners leaving homes lying disused as the homeless figures escalate.

The Housing Agency estimates €1.3 billion is needed over the next four years to fund a social housing programme with 13,500 new homes.

The group is holding a conference at Dublin Castle this morning calling for the EU to extend government borrowing to finance more social housing.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney said encouraging owners to open up properties for occupation will be “a big part of our strategy”.

“We need more housing, so if we have a lot of vacant houses which aren’t being used, that is an obvious way to get a lot of houses back into the system quickly if we can find a way to incentivise bringing those homes back into use.”

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