Parents of children living in family hubs are worried about the impact the experience is having on their child’s mental health.
A survey of children living in hubs by the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman say living in family hubs sometimes compares to being in jail or in a cage.
The Ombudsman for Children’s Office today published No Place Like Home a report outlining children’s views and experiences of living in Family Hubs.
Parents of younger children expressed concern as there’s no space to crawl and they run out the door once its opened.
While the hope is the need for family hubs wont be needed in the future, those living there now say more space, and better cooking and washing facilities are badly needed.
The OCO consulted with children between the ages of 5 and 17, as well as with parents of children under 5 from a group of 80 children living in eight Family Hubs in Dublin, Cork and Limerick. Children were asked what they liked, what they found challenging and what they would change about Family Hubs.
The Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon outlined some of the key findings from the consultation, as well as his priorities for change:
“The Government’s response to the housing crisis has included the introduction of Family Hubs – purpose built or specifically adapted premises to house children and families who are homeless. Up until now we have not had a clear picture of the experiences of the children living there.
“Children told us, in their own words, what it is like to share a room with their parents and siblings, what it is like to go to school from a Family Hub, to study and do homework. They told us about what it is like to have to go to bed and turn off all the lights when their younger brother or sister is going to sleep. Space, privacy, noise, not being able to have visitors, feelings of shame and embarrassment, were all issues raised by the children who talked to us.”
Comments from children (whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity) include the following;
“Well, sometimes I have to read in the toilet if my sister wants to go to sleep. I love reading, my favourite book is Harry Potter.” – Lena, 9
“…the noise keeps me awake, I feel tired when I go to school. I feel like my eyes feel like they are about to go to sleep.” – Chloe, 7
“I don’t tell people I live here, it’s a homeless hub. It’s embarrassing. It’s horrible, it’s not nice.” – Thomas, 16
“I know it’s a house and everything but it’s not a home. I don’t look forward to coming back here or anything.” – Anna, 16