Una Burns of Novas and Joe McGarry, founder of the homeless service, at the launch of the annual report
LIMERICK homeless service Novas has said it worked with nearly 600 children last year.
The startling figure was revealed by the organisation at its seminar in the Belltable on Childhood Experiences of Homelessness in Limerick last week, where it also launched its annual report for 2016.
The seminar, which highlighted the impact of homelessness on children, heard Novas reveal that it has bought 33 family homes in both Limerick and Dublin to help alleviate the crisis of families who are homeless or living in emergency accommodation.
The stark figures revealed in its annual report show that it worked with 570 children in Limerick city and west Cork last year, with the number of families presenting to its Limerick-based Intensive Family Support Service at 196, an increase of almost 100% from the previous year.
Throughout the 12 month period, Novas worked with more than 3,500 people, an increase of 47% from the previous year and 270% from 2010.
Some 8% of all adults accessing their services were under 21 years of age, highlighting the declining age profile of the homeless population, Novas said.
The organisation is responding to the crisis through the procurement of long-term housing, the development of homeless and ancillary services such as respite and community detox and the extension of its Housing First programmes in Limerick, Kerry and Tipperary, it said.
The seminar featured an exhibition of photos chronicling the life of homeless families and presentations from a range of experts.