The hidden homeless youth
Growing up is a time of great joy and fun for many of us. We experience many firsts within the first 18 years of our lives – the first day of school, the first victory in a football match, first loss, first love, first heartbreak, first driving lesson, first exams. Many of us however have been lucky enough to avoid the first night on the streets. The first night alone and looking for shelter. The first night of being homeless and knowing that there most likely will be a second, and third, and…
The Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness within Ireland has reported that the number of young people experiencing homelessness has increased by over 90% in just three years. Currently in Louth we have 26 young people aged between 18 and 24 who are registered as homeless with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. But that is those who are registered – What about the many on the cusp of adulthood yet to be detected?
There is very little reliable information or studies into Ireland’s youth homelessness – yet we know it exists. One reason provided is that many of those below the age of 18 are suffering from what is termed as ‘hidden homelessness’. This means they are spending time couch surfing, staying with friends and relatives or even temporarily on the streets as they have looked for an escape, sometimes from abuse, within their original home.
Another factor within this equation is the possible prevalence and prejudice suffered by our LGBTQI youth homeless. Again, studies are lacking within an Irish context however when we look to the work carried out by the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK they have uncovered that 24% of young homeless identify as LGBTQI and that 77% of these believe that coming out to their parents and the subsequent rejection they faced led to their homelessness. These statistics mirror those that have taken place throughout the US and Canada. This leads one to believe Irish youth may also be in a similar situation.
Dundalk Simon is here for any young person within the local community who is having difficulties at home and is seeking help and support, both practical and emotional. We can help link young people with support services, accompany them to appointments and advocate for services and resources on their behalf. You are not alone in this. If you need a bed tonight or know someone who is experiencing homelessness or who is at risk of becoming homeless please get in touch at 1890 202 303 or out-of-hours on 087 418 6000.