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Support services for young homeless people in Ireland

If you’re experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity in Ireland, there are services that can help


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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Homelessness is an incredibly difficult thing to experience. If you are homeless or facing housing insecurity, there are many services across Ireland who can offer you support and advice for your situation.

The types of services available to you can depend on whether you are under or over 18.

Homelessness support for under 18s

If you are under the age of 18, you are still considered a minor. This means that your parent or guardian is legally responsible for you. If it is not safe for you to be at home, then Tusla (the Child and Family Agency) are responsible for your welfare. This means that Tusla will need to intervene and make sure you are placed with a guardian or in care.

If you are under 18 and have been living on the streets or couch surfing with friends and family, then someone may get in touch with Tusla to let them know about your situation. If this happens, a social worker will be put in touch with you and you might be put into foster care or into a residential home. Learn more about being in care.

Finding support for homelessness when you are under 18

If you are under 18 and homeless, or if you know someone who is under 18 and homeless, you can get in touch with a Tusla social worker in your local area.

If it is out of hours, you can go to the Gardaí, who will get in touch with the on-duty social worker.

How to register as homeless

If you are over 18, in order to access support from the local authority, such as emergency accommodation, you will need to register as homeless. To do this, you must go to your local authority (local council) offices and let them know you need to register as homeless.

Find the website for your local authority.

Generally, you will need to bring:

  • Identification (Passport, driving licence, etc.)
  • Proof of most recent accommodation (for example, an official document with your name and address)
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of homelessness

If you're not sure about what to bring, contact your local authority and ask what you need.

Finding emergency accommodation

If you have nowhere to stay, then you can apply for emergency accommodation. There are different types of emergency accommodation available, including hostels, family hubs, and sometimes B&Bs or hotels. The type of emergency accommodation you qualify for will depend on your situation and if you have children. If you are experiencing domestic violence, there are also refuges available, but these are not considered homeless accommodation by local authorities. You must be over 18 to apply for emergency accommodation.

Find out more about emergency accommodation and how to apply.

Support for young homeless people in Ireland

If you are over 18, then you can contact adult homeless services for support and advice.

Focus Ireland support services for young people

Focus Ireland offers support to people experiencing homelessness across Ireland. They have specific programmes for young people in homelessess, particularly those who are leaving care. Their work includes preventing young people from entering homelessness, supporting young people to get back to education or into training, and working with young people to address their needs.

Support services for young people are currently available in:

  • Dublin
  • Cork
  • Limerick
  • Waterford

If you are outside of these areas, Focus Ireland is still there to support you through other services. Find out how to get in touch with Focus Ireland in your area by selecting your county from this list.

You can also contact Focus Ireland’s Advice & Information Service to find out more about their services and other supports in your area.

Other services that can support young people in homelessness

There are a number of other services across the country who can help young people in or at risk of homelessness:

Day services and drop-in centres

Many services run drop-in centres during the day for young homeless people as a place where you can get food, advice and support.

Here are some drop-in services available to young homeless people:

The Extension Youth Service, run by Focus Ireland at George’s Hill Dublin 7, is a drop-in centre providing food, advice & information services and support in finding stable housing to young people. Key workers are available to provide ongoing support to those who need it.

Crosscare provide youth information services in Bray, Dun Laoghaire and Clondalkin which provide information, free counselling and advocacy services to young people. They also run an Aftercare service for 18-23 year olds who have left state care which offers support finding and sustaining stable accommodation.

The Peter McVerry Trust run a Youth Café on Berkeley St, Dublin 7 which offers food, internet access, laundry and shower facilities for homeless young people.

Support for young people leaving care

Young people leaving care are at a greater risk of homelessness. If you are leaving care, you are entitled to an Aftercare plan. This plan will outline the supports available to you based on your own needs, and includes practical advice and information. You can start planning for Aftercare from the age of 16, but you can apply at any time up to the age of 21.

Organisations like EPIC (Empowering people in care) can offer advice and support to those leaving care. Focus Ireland also works with young people leaving care to prevent them entering into homelessness.

Read more about preparing to leave care.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 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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Published March 26th2021
Last updated May 19th2021
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.
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