NOVAS, the largest provider of homeless services in the Mid-West, worked with 450 children last year through its Intensive Family Support Service in Limerick.
That’s according to the agency’s latest annual report, which highlights the continued demand for services. Throughout 2017, Novas supported 4,572 people, an increase of 29 per cent from the previous year and 370 per cent since 2010, reflecting the extent of the national crisis.
While demand exceeded capacity in all services, the significant pressure points related to the increase in single adults seeking accommodation and the number of families who presented as homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Throughout the year Novas worked with 750 children, the largest number to date. Some 450 of these were through its Intensive Family Support Service in Limerick, the others through services in West Cork, Tipperary and Dublin.
“We acquire long-term housing in the community that is tenanted by formerly homeless families. We also advocate for families to landlords, local authorities and other approved housing bodies,” said Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications with Novas.
“The support we provided to families living in B&B accommodation helps them maintain a routine and reduce the trauma experienced by children who are homeless. We provide laundry vouchers so families have clean clothes, we have developed a meal programme to ensure families have access to a nutritious evening meal and we also support families with school attendance.”
Limerick Metropolitan Mayor Daniel Butler, who officially launched the report, commended Novas on the “tireless work” they do to support vulnerable families in Limerick.
He stated that while it was Novas’ and the council’s ‘ambition to secure long-term housing for families as soon as possible, it was tremendously important that they receive intensive and ongoing support by professional and compassionate staff while experiencing homelessness’. He noted ‘that the dedicated B&B worker employed by Novas was a vital intervention in reducing the trauma experienced by homeless children’. He congratulated Novas and the council on this targeted approach.