Press Release — NOPFA Demands Urgent Action on One-Parent Family Homelessness
Three out of every four families entering homelessness are one-parent families since eviction ban has been lifted
Dublin, Thursday 23rd November 2023
Prior to the upcoming release of the Department of Housing’s monthly report on homelessness, the National One Parent Family Alliance (NOPFA) is calling on the Government to take immediate measures towards addressing the dire housing crisis affecting one-parent households. According to recent data from the department, one-parent families account for an alarming three out of every four families entering homelessness since the eviction moratorium was lifted last April.
It cannot be denied that one-parent families, particularly those with lower incomes, face challenges when competing against higher income households in terms of securing rental properties and social and affordable housing. They continue to struggle with a shortage of rental properties, and additionally, they may also encounter discrimination due to their family status.
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family and Chair of NOPFA said, “It is shocking and unacceptable that in 2023, the housing crisis is disproportionately affecting young children and lone parents. Daily we see and hear from these vulnerable families on their constant struggles in very difficult conditions. It’s heartbreaking to know that these individuals are being disregarded by the Government, leaving them to fend for themselves. The lack of action from the Government only reinforces the message that they do not matter. Immediate action needs to be taken to address this pressing issue.”
As the calendar turns once more, it is disheartening to see that no significant steps have been taken by the Government towards addressing the challenges faced by one-parent families and those experiencing homelessness. These individuals continue to struggle with a shortage of rental properties, inadequate housing, a lack of necessary support services, an inability to compete with two-income households and a glaring absence of comprehensive national policies.
Louise Bayliss, Campaign Coordinator with Focus Ireland said, “It is unfortunate that there is currently no specific strategy or taskforce in place to aid one-family households facing homelessness. The fact that this is happening in modern times is truly regrettable. It is crucial to establish a cohesive method of assisting these families from the time they receive an eviction notice.”
Commenting on the imminent threat of homelessness a lone parent stated,
“I am a lone parent, single mother on a low income and have faced so many barriers over the years, but this is the worst one, as it really affects my son. We have rented a property for thirteen and a half years and have been issued with two notices to quit in five years. I am at my wits end with it all, we have been on the housing list since 2005. We are now expected to get up and live a normal life outside of a looming eviction with no alternative accommodation. To be honest it’s not fair. And it makes me so angry. I feel there’s barriers that single-parent families have to face and battle everywhere, preventing anyone from progressing forward out of low income situations.
Fergal Landy, CEO of the Family Resource Centre National Forum said, “Family Resource Centres strive to empower and strengthen children, families, individuals, and communities throughout Ireland. It is incredibly frustrating to see scarce resources expended on dealing with the avoidable impact on children of living in emergency accommodation and experiencing homelessness. It is crucial for prompt measures to be taken in tackling the housing crisis, particularly for lone parents, to prevent the many costly adverse outcomes that will inevitably arise for children if comprehensive action is not taken.”
The National One Parent Family Alliance (NOPFA) urges the government to focus on the following actions specifically targeting one-parent families:
- Remove Child Maintenance from means testing for housing supports such as HAP and Rent Supplement. It is a payment for children and when it is being paid, should be considered a means to support one-parent families out of poverty.
- Establish a dedicated team in the Department of Housing to investigate the disproportionate increase of homelessness on one-parent families and offer practical solutions.
Note to editors:
About National One Parent Family Alliance
The National One Parent Family Alliance comprises of national organisations including Barnardos, One Family, Family Resource Centre National Forum, FLAC, Focus Ireland, National Women’s Council, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, SPARK, and Treoir. This Alliance was established in 2020 around a shared concern about the high levels of poverty experienced by lone parents and their children.
Children in one parent families are four times more likely to experience poverty than children in two parent families. Prior to cost-of-living increases, 17% of one parent families lived in consistent poverty, 45% were experiencing enforced deprivation and almost 80% were unable to afford an unexpected expense. Despite making up only 20% of families in Ireland, one parent families account for 56% of homeless families. (EU SILC, 2022).
For media inquiries, please contact:
Laura Curtin, Communications Manager at One Family | t: 086 853 7043