25th September 2017
“Number of children experiencing homelessness in Galway would fill an entire school”
COPE Galway will launch their 2016 Annual Report at the Harbour Hotel on Monday, 2nd October at 11.30am. Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection and an expert on children’s rights will give the keynote address at the launch, which will also relay individual stories from people who have come through the organisation’s services.
The report will reveal that 2016 saw a 27% increase in the numbers of families seeking assistance due to homelessness or the risk of homelessness, with an alarming 39% increase in the numbers of children. COPE Galway homeless services supported 512 children as members of 211 families in Galway in 2016 (compared to 369 in 2015). The local charity supported a further 158 children of women who sought the assistance of its domestic violence services, including refuge, in 2016.
Speaking in advance of the launch, Dr. Shannon commented, “Homelessness in childhood is particularly damaging, occurring during the most important developmental years in a child’s life. Having to rely on placing families in hotel and other tourist accommodation for extended periods of time means a child’s most basic rights to education, play and nutrition can be seriously affected.”
CEO Jacquie Horan said: “The children of Galway began a new school year this month – it is heart wrenching to think that the numbers of children in our community who experienced the effects of homelessness in 2016 would fill an entire school. Our dedicated family service and domestic violence teams have been working very hard to minimise the impact of homelessness on children as much as possible. However, becoming homeless is very often only the beginning of this traumatic experience for a child. Living in emergency accommodation, often in tourist accommodation such as hotels or B&Bs for extended periods of time, further compounds this trauma”.
COPE Galway’s 2016 Annual Report will outline the real experiences of families and individuals in crisis and indicate how every effort must be made to safeguard children against the trauma and the disadvantages that the experience of homelessness will give rise to in their lives and in their education and future prospects in life.
Contact: Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway. Tel: 091 778 750
COPE Galway is a Galway-based charity providing a range of services that address the needs of people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness; women and children who are victims of domestic violence and supports for older people living in the community. They worked with a total of 1,473 households across all three of these service areas in 2016 including 649 households (families and single person households comprising of 702 adults and 512 children), 314 women who experienced domestic violence and supported 510 older people living in the community of Galway.
The Photo above is of Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, who is giving the keynote address at launch of COPE Galway Annual Report on October 2nd. While COPE Galway presents stark statistics regarding their work in 2016 with people experiencing Homelessness, Domestic Violence as well as showcasing their work to help reduce isolation for Older People in Galway; Dr. Shannon will present an overview of the impact being without a home has on young children.
- Published in Press Releases