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Homeless children feel shame, guilt and anger - report.

Homeless children feel shame, guilt and anger - report - Topcomhomes

Homeless children feel shame, guilt and anger - report.

The Ombudsman for Children is calling for an independent evaluation of family hubs, which are premises used to provide emergency accommodation for homeless families as an alternative to hotels and B&Bs.

Dr Niall Muldoon published a report, based on the views and experiences of children living in family hubs.

Up to 900 children are living in 26 family hubs, most of them in Dublin.

Dr Muldoon said the Government is spending more than a €100m on the units, but said the initiative was never piloted and has not been evaluated.

The children surveyed by the Ombudsman's office reported feelings of shame, guilt and anger, and complained about noise, and a lack of space and privacy, while parents said they were concerned about the long-term impact on their children's mental health.

The Ombudsman said there is an urgent need to introduce national standards, an independent inspection mechanism, and a full-scale formal evaluation system.

He also said it is time to begin a national conversation about including an "express right to housing" in the Constitution.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Dr Muldoon described one ten-year-old girl who was worried about her five-year-old brother, who would try and escape the room at every opportunity.

He said the girl had to watch her younger brother whenever their mother went to the bathroom, to prevent the boy from running away.

Dr Muldoon said most families seem to be in hubs for about nine months, and some leave within three months.

But he said the only opportunity to leave is through the Housing Assistance Payment scheme (HAP), which is not accepted by many landlords.

He said there are concerns about the long-term plan for family hubs.

"What is the plan for them, how are they going to be used? We set them up hoping we'd be finished fairly quickly, but anyone looking into the future can see a three to five year term at least on this.

"We need to evaluate it, we need to have standards, we need to have consistency, and we need to know what the final product is coming out of this. Even one year in there is a huge chunk of a child's life, and we need to know that it's going to be done the right way."


Source: RTE 18/04/2019

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