Focus Ireland present petition to Dáil seeking an end to youth homelessness

Homelessness is a huge problem in Ireland with the latest figures showing 10,338 people currently affected.

A group of Focus Ireland supporters outside the Dáil holding a large placard reading 'End Youth Homelessness'

In a show of urgency at how dire the situation has become, today Focus Ireland delivered a petition signed by over 10,700 people calling on all political parties to include a commitment to a national Youth Homeless Strategy in their manifestos for the forthcoming General Election.

Alongside a large group of supporters, Focus Ireland presented the petition to the Children and Youth Affairs spokespersons of all the political parties outside Leinster House. 

Speaking about the issue, Mike Allen, Focus Ireland Advocacy Director, said “Our younger generation are empowered agents of change and will not accept the inequality they face. The campaign has also received support from a broad range of people across civil society indicating great demand for action. Young people have been left behind throughout the housing crisis and this has got to end.

“Young adults are most likely to bunk-in with friends and extended family to keep a roof over their heads. They are part of the hidden homeless and are not included in the Government’s official homelessness figures. This needs to be addressed as a matter of great urgency.”

Focus Ireland called on the Government to take action on the following:

  • Prevent young people from becoming homeless in the first place. The Government must give tenants greater security so young people can plan for their future. This is compounded by the fact that people aged 18-24 are six times more likely to experience discrimination by private landlords 
  • If young people become homeless, the services and emergency accommodation they receive must be designed to meet their specific needs. 
  • Young LGBT+ people are at higher risk of homelessness across the world. Homeless services should be LGBT+ friendly and staff should be trained to respond to specific needs. 
  • Guarantee that all young people leaving State Care have a secure home.

BeLonG To, the national organisation supporting LGBT+ young people, recently partnered with Focus Ireland and UCD to create the first dedicated study of LGBTI+ youth homelessness in Ireland.

Dr Aideen Quilty, of UCD’s School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, said at the time: “This is one of the most important studies undertaken with young LGBT+ young people in Ireland. The voices we need to hear are those of the young people themselves. To understand homelessness in all its forms, we must listen to their stories. Only then can we respond effectively and campaign for change.”

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