News & Events
Peter McVerry Trust, the homeless and housing charity, today opened Ireland’s first Youth Café for children and young people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. At the launch of the new service the charity highlighted that if current trends continue there will be almost 2,500 people aged 24 or younger in homelessness by year end.
Speaking at the official opening of the service this morning the charity’s CEO Pat Doyle said “This service is incredibly important as it provides a safe and supportive, space to vulnerable young people. In addition to using the service to provide a wide range of services during the day we will also be rolling out evening and weekend hours as the service grows and establishes itself. Initially we will open one evening per week and working with young people aged 18-25 and then offer one night a week dedicated to homeless children.”
“This service is one which we have been seeking to develop for a number of years and the out of hours component was initially raised by people accessing homeless services. They clearly told us they needed somewhere they would be welcomed, somewhere they could go an relax during the day and evenings when they might not have anywhere else to go. Thanks to the support of our donors and capital funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Clongowes Union we have been able to realise this service.”
Continuing Mr Doyle said that Peter McVerry Trust has been working hard to highlight the needs of children and young people at risk of homelessness. “The unfortunate reality is that we are likely to have 2,500 young people aged 24 or young in homeless services by Christmas. We would urge the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and TUSLA to play a much more prominent and proactive role in helping children and families experiencing homelessness. Peter McVerry Trust now has families contacting us on a daily basis and the risk that every child who enters homelessness now will be negatively impacted and need years of support from the State to recover.”
The Children’s Ombudsman, Dr Niall Muldoon, performed the official opening of the Youth Café and spoke of his concerns of the impact that homelessness was having on children. He said that “homelessness for children and young people has a very negative impact on more than just their family life. It also effects their ability to maximise their schooling and build on their social relationships so that it clearly interferes with their human rights to be secure, have privacy and be educated”. Homelessness is a hurdle that too many children and young people are being asked to negotiate and we, as a society, need to worked much harder to prevent this trend from growing and ultimately, reverse it. In his recent report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child the Ombudsman for Children urged them to recommend that the State make every effort to address the provision of social housing and ensure that emergency housing for families is appropriate to children’s needs.
Dr. Muldoon went on to welcome all those children and young people who will attend this youth café and hoped that “they find it to be a safe space where they can relax and cultivate friendships and from where they might navigate their way towards a secure and bright future.”