26 Sep 2017

Growing up in a hotel: The reality for thousands of homeless Irish children

For thousands of children in Ireland today, a hotel room is home. Can you imagine living family life within the confines of those four walls? 

Ciara Kenny
Ciara Kenny The Irish Times, Ireland
Source: The Irish Times
Growing up in a hotel: The reality for thousands of homeless Irish children - NewsMavens
a tile of four simple houses

Why this story matters:

Think of a hotel room, and most of us imagine fluffy towels, bathrobes and slippers, free cosmetics and luxury linens. We might daydream about a well-deserved spa weekend, a sun holiday somewhere warm, or a city break somewhere exciting we have never been before.

But for thousands of children in Ireland today, a hotel room is home.

Can you imagine living family life within the confines of those four walls? 

In this video, and the accompanying article, one Dublin mother, Toni O’Reid, shares her story of becoming homeless after her relationship broke down, and what it has been like to live in a hotel room for the past 15 months with her two daughters.

A stall in construction activity after the recession hit Ireland in 2008 has resulted in a chronic housing shortage. Property prices are rising rapidly – up 11.2 per cent in the past 12 months, according to reports this week - and rents have rocketed out of control. The average three-bed semi-detached home in Dublin has jumped in value by €17,000 in the three months to the end of September, and now costs an average of €431,500. As a result, Ireland is facing unprecedented levels of homelessness.

Eight thousand people across Ireland are now homeless, a whopping 2,973 of whom are children.

The figures themselves are shocking. But it is the personal stories told by the people most affected – women like Toni and her daughters – which really hit home.

Details from the story:

  • Toni O’Reid, a mother of two, has been homeless for 15 months.
  • Like many others in her situation, she has been living in a hotel room with her children.
  • The kids are taunted at school, Mrs O'Reid has recieved no help from Dublin City Council.
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