A new study conduced in Cork city, documenting the experiences of 37 homeless young people aged 14-25 years, was launched at the Foyer, Cork City June 27 last. The study, entitled Not Just Homelessness … A Study of ‘Out of Home’ Young People in Cork City, is co-written by Dr Paula Mayock, Lecturer in Youth Research at TCD’s School of Social Work and Social Policy and the Children’s Research Centre and Nicola Carr, Research Fellow also of the Children’s Research Centre.
The study documents young people’s pathways or routes out of home; their experiences of leaving home; the challenges they confronted once they became homeless; their physical and mental health problems; reports of substance use and misuse; and their experiences of interacting with services and service providers.
According to Dr. Paula Mayock: “This research demonstrates the complexity of the problem we call ‘youth homelessness’. Many in the study who left home prematurely reported problems and adversities from childhood, suggesting that early identification and assessment could have prevented many from becoming homeless. On reaching the age of 18 years, young people confronted specific challenges and the lack of provision for 18-25 year olds is a particular problem. Many were forced to access adult emergency hostel accommodation, settings which are most often not equipped to meet their complex needs”.
The study found that a large proportion of the young people interviewed had a history of State care. Many others were exposed to domestic violence during childhood or adolescence, either as witnesses or in tandem with emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. Others exhibited ‘problem behaviour’, including substance use, which tended to escalate subsequent to becoming homeless.
Not Just Homelessness … A Study of ‘Out of Home’ Young People in Cork City is published by Brunswick Press and is available to download from The Children’s Research Centre website: www.tcd.ie/childrensresearchcentre
The research was funded by the Health Service Executive, South.