The impact of the housing crisis on young people in Ireland

Written by spunout

Last Updated: May-15-24


spunout’s National Action Panel address the housing crisis

spunout’s National Action Panel have launched a grassroots campaign aimed at highlighting and addressing the severe impacts of the housing crisis on young people across Ireland. Throughout the campaign, we will highlight the stories of young people across Ireland.

The campaign will feature videos where people like Blezzing, Lauren, and Scott share their challenging experiences finding stable housing. We will also share the results of our national housing survey and explain in simple terms why this crisis is happening.

In partnership with Focus Ireland, we are launching a petition urging every local authority to build housing specifically for young people in need.

What effect is the housing crisis having on young people?

The current housing crisis is impacting the private rental sector, student accommodation, and residential care, with more and more young people living in unsuitable accommodation and being pushed to the margins.

Those between the age of 16-24 are especially vulnerable to risks caused by experiences of homelessness, such as dropping out of  education and training, poor mental health and addiction.

spunout’s Housing Survey was taken by over 1,000 young people across Ireland in 2023 and highlights a number realities:

  • Mental Health: 4 out of 5 young people asked said that the housing crisis was significantly negatively impacting their mental health
  • Home Ownership Doubts: 83.85% doubt they’ll be able to own a home within the next ten years
  • Critique of Government Response: 60.65% rate the government’s handling of the housing crisis as very poor
  • Accessibility Issues: 34.11% have trouble finding housing that meets their needs
  • Consideration of Emigration: 87.59% have considered moving abroad due to high housing costs
  • Support for Constitutional Change: 90.31% support adding the right to housing to the Constitution

What else is this campaign highlighting?

Youth Homelessness is a severe issue that is facing too many young people in Ireland. Transitioning from adolescence to adulthood is a crucial point in their development and traumatic experiences at this stage can have a life-long impact. Focus Ireland and spunout are calling for the urgent change required to end youth homelessness.

Youth Homelessness includes unique experiences, each with their own support needs;

  • Young people without support networks who have left the care system or experience family relationship breakdown and may have disengaged from education;
  • Young parents experiencing family homelessness with their children having left an overcrowded family home;
  • Young adults experiencing homelessness with their parents, which can create tension within family relationships.

There are currently 1,660 young people aged 18-24 experiencing youth homelessness, residing in emergency homeless accommodation across Ireland.

In addition to these young people evidence shows a prevalence of ‘hidden homelessness’ amongst this age, couch-surfing and living temporarily with friends or relatives in overcrowded insecure conditions, often to avoid emergency homeless accommodation.

What do Focus Ireland and spunout want to change?

We are calling on each Local Authority to build housing stock specifically committed to meeting the housing needs of vulnerable young people in their area.

Due to their age, young people are often left behind. Moving from homelessness to the private rental sector by using rental subsidies such as the Housing Assistance Payment have reduced dramatically. While social housing is mostly allocated based on time spent on the social housing list, meaning young people in emergency homeless accommodation with a housing application may face long waiting times before being allocated a Local Authority or Approved Housing Body tenancy.

Initiatives such as the Capital Assistance Scheme for Careleavers and the Supported Housing for Youth programme planned under the Youth Homelessness Strategy are extremely important and we welcome them, but to truly put an end to youth homelessness we must build upon these initiatives and expand housing options for young people trapped in homelessness.

What can you do?

Sign the petition calling for housing specifically to meet the needs of vulnerable young people.

Get relevant information and support all in one place

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’.

Need more information, advice or guidance?

We offer information, advice and guidance about the issues that matter to you. Our online Youth Information Chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm (excluding Bank Holidays).

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