Focus Ireland is set to open its first ever family centre for the homeless in Dublin city centre this Christmas.
The centre which was announced at the launch of Focus Ireland’s urgent Christmas appeal will provide a place for families to feed their children, do washing and get help with homework according to the charity.
The centre will be open before the new year the charity said.
According to the appeal, new figures show that 12% of children in families currently supported by Focus Ireland’s family services were born into homelessness.
Curretly there are 1,215 children in Dublin supported by Focus Ireland and 142 of these children were born into families who were homeless.
Focus Ireland Life President and Founder Sr Stan, said it was “shocking and appalling” and “fundamentally wrong”, adding that the situation was “worse than ever” with almost 4,000 children now homeless in Ireland.
There are now nearly 500 families and 1,000 children who are homeless outside of Dublin according to Focus Ireland advocacy manager Roughan MacNamara.
According to MacNamara the stress of living in unsuitable housing is affecting children’s development.
“We have seen babies that are unable to crawl as their living conditions are stunting their growth and development,” he told PA news agency.
According to Focus Ireland while they have child support workers who try and help them reach their developmental milestones only nine percent of the children they work with have access to a child support worker.
Speaking at the launch of the Christmas appeal, Sr Stan said that the new family centre would have support workers to work with these children.
“The centre will also have specially trained Focus Ireland support staff to work with families to help get them out of homelessness as quickly as possible. There will also be child support workers to work with children who are homeless,” she siad.
“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,” she continued.
Focus Ireland is also called for the Government to develop a specific family homelessness strategy because most services are aimed at adults and are not child-centred.
Image Credit: Focus Ireland