Food poverty highlighted as key issue facing homeless children living in emergency accomodation

Food poverty highlighted as key issue facing homeless children living in emergency accomodation

Food poverty is a significant problem facing homeless children living in emergency accommodation.

Over 2000 children are living in homeless accommodation across the country, the majority of these in hotels.

The Children's Minister has said she will think it a failure if soon-to-be-announced measures do not go towards halving the number of homeless children.

NGOs have been attending a Homeless Children's Summit with the Children's Minister this morning to discuss the specific challenges facing children in emergency accommodation.

Minister Katherine Zappone says nutrition is emerging as a problem: “Although they may be still receiving meals, etc, is it good enough for them the way that that is happening?

“We are concerned that maybe it is encouraging overeating or fast food or that kind of thing.

More than two thirds of the 913 homeless families in Dublin, are living in hotels.

CEO of the Children's Rights Alliance Tanya Ward has said they cannot cook at home; “We know that a significant number of families don’t have cooking facilities.

“They are spending their money on fast food and they are going through their money very quickly.

“So the Ministers and Government need to find ways to support those families because obviously nutrition is essential for child development.”

She also wants action for victims of domestic violence; “We will be asking the minister to ensure that no child or family is turned away from a domestic refuge because we know at the moment nearly 25% of wives and children have been turned away and they have ended up in homeless accommodation.”

And June Tinsley of Barnardos has said children cannot thrive in emergency accommodation: “Things like no access to play, no access to bringing their friends over, bearing in mind that their hotel bed is the place where they eat, where they sleep, where they play, where they do their homework.

“It is such a confined space, day to day family functioning, there is no place to do laundry, there is no place to cook.

“So that whole impact can be very very stressful on children.

Minister Zappone has said she would like to see the number of homeless children halved soon, and will consider it a failure if progress isn't made quickly.


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