'The milk was constantly going off':Limerick homeless charity sees 55% increase in homeless children

'The milk was constantly going off':Limerick homeless charity sees 55% increase in homeless children
Kate O'Loughlin

The Limerick homeless charity Novas has helped 557 children last year, a record high.

New figures from the charity show it has experienced a 55% increase in the number of children becoming homeless over the last 12 months.

In 2016 it dealt with more than 3,500 people, a rise of more than 270% since 2010.

Kate O'Loughlin, who was recently housed by the charity after living in a hotel for several months, said there was nothing luxurious about living in a hotel with four children, one of them a baby born 12 weeks ago.

"The milk was constantly going off - I remember putting it outside on the windowsill at nighttime so it wouldn’t go off and then there might be a slug in it in the morning and you'd have to go to the shop again for more," she said.

"Friends would say to me 'but it's warm' and, yes, it's warm and clean, but - four kids in one room?"

Kate had to arrange to have her fifth child stay with a friend and said being separated every day was very hard on the seven-year-old girl.

Kate and her family were forced into emergency accommodation when her rented home was put up for sale.

Now that the family are reunited in their own home again, Kate said her daughter said her favourite time of the day now is when the whole family can sit down together at their own table for dinner.

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