Regan, Geraldine (2021) Home Truths: A Dublin Case Study of Family Homelessness 2014 to 2020. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Family homelessness in Dublin is complex and increased dramatically from 2014 to 2020. This phenomenon appears to reflect a dysfunctional housing market, lack of security of tenure for tenants in the private rental sector and fair rents. Socioeconomic policies and the promotion of housing as a commodity, rather than a right that secures safety, security, and family development, leave many families facing homelessness. The overall aim of this study is to critically analyse the causes and consider family homelessness in Dublin, Ireland, in the period July 2014 to January 2020, taking account of the prevailing political, socioeconomic, and housing context of the period. To achieve this aim. a critical realist theoretical framework is employed that attempts to analyse and explain the causes of homelessness for this study. The methods employed are semi structured interviews, with homeless parents and /or guardians, and with practitioners working in family homelessness services. Children’s voices are included in the research using creative methods to empower them to discuss what is important to them about their homelessness, and to capture their views. Template thematic analysis using a critical realist framework is used to analyse the data.

In the context of the Waldron, Hynes, and Redmond (2019), this case study gains a critical realist perspective of a small number of families who experience episodic and chronic homelessness. Many homeless parents, / guardians have experienced a range of adverse childhood events including bereavement with subsequent family fracture being common in their own childhood, this combined with economic hardship, poverty, and lack of suitable housing options meant homelessness for them. The results demonstrate that many families cannot compete for housing in a market economy where housing is a commodity. The move from the building of houses to housing incentives has not worked in reducing family homelessness in the study period. Children voiced their dissatisfaction with play facilities, overcrowding, lack of privacy and the difficulties in engaging with and attending school. This study attempts to view the family as a holistic unit and looks not only at housing, but also at the policy and legislative framework in which it operates including socioeconomics, education and politics, the difficult childhoods, and the difficult life experiences of the current homeless individuals that make up family units.

In conclusion, it is essential that a right to housing be inserted into the constitution as recommended by the Constitutional Convention in 2014, or at least enshrine a statutory right to housing in legislation. Provision must be made for families who cannot compete in a housing market where housing is a commodity, political decisions about increasing the supply of houses for these families is more important than the demand side housing subsidies that do not appear to address the problem. Homeless families and particularly children n are experiencing adverse events now because of their homelessness, that have-to-have serious consequences for their future in terms of health, wellbeing, education and prospects for themselves and the state.

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