spunout and Pavee Point highlight Traveller accommodation crisis

Just under half (40%) of Traveller households are living in severely overcrowded conditions

Written by spunout

Johnny’s Story- Pavee Point and spunout

spunout and Pavee Point have partnered together to highlight the challenges faced by young Travellers who are homeless due to the failure of Local Authorities to provide Traveller specific accommodation, this includes a gross underspending on Traveller accommodation by Local Authorities. Not having a safe, suitable and culturally appropriate home negatively impacts on every aspect of a young Traveller’s life.

As part of the partnership, Pavee Point and spunout created an illustrated video to share the story of a young Traveller named Johnny living in Emergency Accommodation with his pregnant wife. Johnny tells of how he and his wife try to prepare for the birth of their first child while living in homeless accommodation that is not fit for purpose. The couple are cut off from their families who live far away and separated from their extended family and community.

Traveller Community experiences some of the highest rates of homelessness in Ireland

Johnny describes how being without a home and having no control over his own life causes him constant stress and damages his mental health. With no Traveller-specific accommodation, including Traveller sites, being built for Traveller families, Johnny worries that he will never be able to live with his family and his community again, something that is very important to him, his wife and their growing family.

Unfortunately, the experience of Johnny and his wife is common among young Travellers. Despite being just under one percent of the total population, the Traveller Community experiences some of the highest rates of homelessness in Ireland. Travellers are significantly overrepresented in the homeless figures, making up nine percent of the homeless population on Census night 2016.

The census figure, however, does not include what is often referred to as ‘the hidden homeless.’ In the case of Travellers, this includes, those living in severely overcrowded accommodation and people living on the side of the road without any basic amenities like running water, toilets or electricity. Census data also highlights, for example, that Travellers are seven times more likely than the general population, to be living in overcrowded dwellings.

Statistics on Traveller accommodation and homelessness

Facts about experiences of homelessness and accommodation as a Traveller:

  • Just under half (40%) of Traveller households are living in severely overcrowded conditions, with more persons than rooms, compared with less than 6% of non-Traveller households
  • Traveller overcrowding 7 times higher than the national rate
  • Approximately 1,700 Travellers live on the roadside without basic facilities
  • Over 1 in 10 (13.5%) of the homeless population are Travellers, despite accounting for only 1% of the general population; this is the equivalent of 657, 139 people from the majority population forced to live on the side of the road and/or double/quadruple up with other families
  • 82% of landlords would not rent to Travellers
  • Travellers are ten times as likely to report discrimination in access to housing as the White Irish population
  • The majority of Travellers (73%) report discrimination when trying to rent or buy houses
  • The vast majority (92%) of Travellers report not having enough living spaces available
  • 1 in 4 ​(​24%) of Travellers have experienced severe housing deprivation, such as overcrowding, living in accommodation that is in a poor condition or does not have a proper bathroom
  • 1 in 3 (28%) of Traveller children grow up in severe material deprivation.
  • 1 in 3 (31%) of Travellers live in households that cannot pay for basic items, including heating, rent, or utility bills.

spunout stands in solidarity with Pavee Point and the Traveller Community in demanding safe, accessible and culturally appropriate accommodation for all Travellers. No one should have to choose between being separated from their family and community, and safe, accessible accommodation.

Support for young Travellers

If you are a young Traveller and would like to speak to a counsellor that works specifically with the Travelling community, the Traveller Counselling Service can support you. The service works from a culturally inclusive framework which respects Traveller culture, identity, values and norms and works from a perspective of culture centred counselling and psychotherapy. They offer counselling both in person and online.

Feeling overwhelmed and want to talk to someone?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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