Living in the shadow. An examination of the views and affects of homelessness on women with young children, living in emergency accomodation in Dublin

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McWilliam, Barbara
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This research project argued that Ireland's rapid economic growth has exacerbated homelessness, and examined the affects and views of homeless women with young children, in the Dublin area. This group, called the 'hidden homeless', are forced to live in emergency accommodation, due to lack of affordable accommodation. Previous work by Harvey (1998) suggests that lack of government will to provide affordable housing is the root cause of homelessness. Qualitative methodology was deemed the most suitable, to elicit the necessary information. This involved using participant observation and depth interviewing, in order to provide scope and detail, in the search for perspective. Four mothers, in their twenties and thirties, participated in the study. All had been homeless for several months, and were living in emergency accommodation. Responses indicated that homelessness has a devastating psychological and physical impact on women with children. Participants felt they had poor parenting and coping-skills, but all felt that they had the capacity for independent living, if there was only accommodation available. Implications are discussed with reference to current government policies, which are more visionary, than action orientated. Future research suggests the necessity of including the views of the homeless population, in seeking a solution to homelessness.