“My car is full of toys, glitter, arts and crafts equipment. People could think I’m in and out of children’s birthday parties. But instead of parties, my job is to try to help children deal with the hardship of homelessness and all the confusion that comes with it. Sometimes I give a piece of me and tell them things that went wrong for me when I was a child. By giving them a bit of my story I get their attention and they treat me as someone they can trust and who is finally going to understand them. They open up. We play and through stories and drawings, I get them to talk about the memories and thoughts they shouldn’t deal with alone. Creating stories and drawings, we can talk through their issues and their anger. One of the techniques I use is the ‘Wooden boat to a faraway land’. We put their problems on a wooden boat and send them far, far away, so they never have to return. They can then focus on the much brighter future ahead.”
The most recent figures show a record total of more than 8,492 people homeless in Ireland. Nationally there are now 5,298 adults and 3,194 children homeless meaning more than 1 in 3 people experiencing homelessness is a child. The total number of people homeless rose by 24% from October 2016 to October 2017. The number of children has risen by 29% in the same period from a total of 2,348 children in October 2016. Children now account for 37% of those living in emergency accommodation.
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This post was highlighted by Focus Ireland. Find out more: https://www.focusireland.ie