Research shows 42% of Ireland's homeless population are women

New research has revealed that 47% of individuals who are homeless are women.

In Ireland, women comprise 42% of the total adult homeless population.

This figure is well above the European norm which stands between 20% and 33% in most countries.

The Trinity College research has suggested that the Republic of Ireland has the most feminised homeless population in the European Union.

The research indicated that the crisis is likely to worsen as women are less likely to register as homeless for fear of being stigmatised.

Dr Paula Moyock, who co-edited the research has policy responses to homelessness in Ireland lacks gender sensitivity.

“In Ireland, policy responses to homelessness lack gender sensitivity and models of service provision are primarily oriented towards the needs of homeless men," she said.

"Existing homelessness services remain stubbornly focused on responding only to the most urgent and basic needs of women through the provision of short- or medium term accommodation rather than on the provision of permanent housing.

"Large numbers of women therefore become ‘trapped’ in systems of emergency response that are poorly equipped to address their housing and other support needs”.

The research also shows that 66% of homeless Irish families are headed by a lone parent, the vast majority of them being women.

These women are young in their 20s or 30s, typically have one or two children and are parenting alone; a majority became homeless following the loss of private rented housing.

A separate study of 60 homeless women found that two-thirds had experienced domestic violence.

Research in several EU countries including Ireland reveals women's distrust of services and their staff. It points to strong evidence that services are failing to respond to the needs of women and their children.

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