Hearing the voices of homelessness

By cypscadmin, Thursday, 23rd May 2019 | 0 comments
Filed under: Economic Security.

South Dublin CYPSC and the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) recently launched a report on the needs and priorities of families experiencing homelessness within the South Dublin CYPSC area.

The report titled ‘Many Hearts, No Homes – Voices from the front line of Homelessness’ was launched by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone and the Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Councillor Mark Ward.

The aim of the research project led by Childhood Development Intitiative (CDI) on behalf of the South Dublin CYPSC was to explore and understand the needs and priorities of families experiencing homelessness within the South Dublin area.  The project was funded by the  Department of Children and Youth Affair's Quality & Capacity Building Initiative fund (QCBI).

This report is the culmination of several months of engagement with a highly vulnerable group of families.

Driven by the principle that it's work should be evidence-informed, and respond to identified need, South Dublin Children and Young People's Services Committee (CYPSC) committed to undertake consultation with families experiencing homelessness.  

Using a variety of innovative, person-centred methodologies, this project aims to give voice to the lived experience of both families who have experienced homelessness, and to the people who work on a day to day basis providing services to families who find themselves in this most vulnerable of situations.

By using a method of participatory photography called photovoice,

the project aims to give voice to the stories behind the statistics; to explore them in a deeply nuanced manner which can provide actionable insight in terms of how service quality can be improved for families.   

In total nineteen people participated in this project, submitting over 70 photographs to be included in the report.

The extent to which the experiences and responses of the professionals mirrors that of the families within the report - in terms of frustration, hopelessness, feeling disempowered – is striking.

Their needs are also examined and it is hoped the report will enable the development of systematic, relevant and meaningful supports for those staff whose commitment, listening ear and empathy is often the only source of support to some of our most excluded citizens.

The report allows people to share their experience with others who may be in a position to influence positive change – these can include public policy makers, government, service providers, the general public and so forth. The focus of the next phase of work will be the implementation of the recommendations which are often already well-known and in many cases well-documented, but which are not being implemented within the system. 

The key recommendation from this project is that the voices of the participants be given a chance to be heard via, in this first instance, a public exhibition of their photographs and through the report itself.

In addition to the report a Photographic exhibition was developed. This exhibition, which is the result of consultation with families and service providers in South Dublin on their experiences of homelessness, includes photographic images and text.  It is a powerful testimony to the impact of homelessness on families and on those working with them.  The exhibition has been on display in Tallaght, Dublin 24 and Clondalkin, Dublin 22 libraries and will be moving to a number of public libraries in the wider Dublin area over the coming months:

  • Blanchardstown Library, Dublin 15: June 10th - June 25th 2019
  • Ballyroan Library, Dublin 14: July 15th -  July 31st 2019
  • LexIcon Dun Laoighaire, Co. Dublin:  August & September 2019

Families are the largest and fastest growing group of people experiencing homelessness in the country.  This report makes an important contribution and is just the beginning of the conversation, towards better understanding, and a more empathetic, compassion-centred, trauma-informed response to supporting families who are experiencing homelessness.


To find out more about the project Click here

To read the report 'Many Hearts, No Homes' please Click here

For more CYPSC news Click here