Schools becoming a safe haven for Ireland’s 4,000 homeless children

Schools are often a safe haven for Ireland’s homeless children – the one positive place where they can be kids. IPPN CEO, Pairic Clerkin acknowledged and commended the many school leaders and teachers who are quietly supporting these children and their families on a daily basis as he addressed the sold out Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) Annual Principals’ Conference. This event, the largest gathering of primary school leaders in Europe, is taking place on Thursday and Friday, 24th and 25th January in Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin.

IPPN CEO, Pairic Clerkin said: ‘4000 children in Ireland are currently homeless and the problem is spreading from cities to provincial towns as demand within the housing rental market exacerbates’. He continued to state the stark reality that due to ‘the sheer scale of the current housing crisis, we are a number of years away from making significant inroads on effectively addressing the homeless issue’ in Ireland.

A recent survey carried out by IPPN states that 27% of primary schools have children in their school that are homeless. Furthermore, 16% of respondents stated that there are children in their school in direct provision.
The IPPN survey also stated that the top three challenges for children who are either homeless or living in direct provision are anxiety, family issues (marital breakdown, bereavement, financial difficulties, etc) and neglect.

The daily reality of families living in homeless accommodation and direct provision can often result in poor physical and mental wellbeing, low self-esteem, exhaustion and feelings of isolation. This can impact children’s school attendance and can result in reduced engagement and participation in school life and learning.

IPPN CEO, Pairic Clerkin has stated that ‘homelessness for children is lonely; they often become isolated from their closest friends and relations – they become restricted and confined; their play area reduced to a hotel corridor, homework done at the side of the bed in a room the family share’.

IPPN CEO, Pairic Clerkin, commits to continue to ‘advocate for the necessary resources to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable and needy children’.

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