My Right to a Home 

Election 2024

Download Guide

My Right to a Home  

Download Guide

The housing crisis in Ireland

The housing crisis in Ireland is a complex issue that has persisted for many years, affecting the lives of individuals and families across the country. The shortage of affordable and accessible housing has led to challenges such as homelessness, inadequate living conditions, and social inequality. This crisis has deep-rooted causes, including economic factors dating back to the financial crisis in 2008, insufficient housing policies, and a growing population. The impact of the housing crisis on children is particularly concerning, as having a stable and secure home is crucial for their well-being and development.

By the end of these activities, you will understand the causes and impact of the housing crisis in Ireland and be able to critically assess its effects on children’s rights.

Workshop Activities

Activity 1 Kahoot Quiz on Housing 10 Mins
Activity 2 Childhood Homelessness: and Its Lasting Effects 30 Mins
Activity 3 Housing Crisis Explored 40 Mins


Why is this an Election issue?

Housing is one of the critical issues in the upcoming Local Elections. Years of an escalating homelessness crisis and limited housing supply have placed huge strain on vulnerable groups, including young people. Here’s why:

  • Housing Affordability: The cost of of both buying and renting a home has become increasingly expensive over time, especially in urban areas like Dublin and its environs. Higher house prices make it harder for young, first-time-buyers to compete in the housing market, while high rent costs and deposits are often out-of-step with young people‘s incomes. Read more
  • Limited Supply: Largely to blame for the rising cost of housing in Ireland is the limited housing supply. Year after year, Governments have failed to meet social and affordable housing targets, creating a significant backlog in housing availability while many properties lay vacant and derelict across the country. Read more
  • Delayed Independence and Life Milestones: The housing crisis significantly delays the age at which young people can achieve independence and key life milestones. The high cost of housing, coupled with limited availability, forces many to continue living with family or in less-than-ideal conditions for an extended period. Statistics from the European Commission show that, in 2021, the average age of Irish people before they moved out of the family home was 27.9 years, hindering personal and professional development.
  • Impact on Mental Health and Well-being: The perpetual struggle to secure stable and affordable housing takes a toll on the mental health and overall well-being of young individuals. The constant uncertainty and feeling of being trapped in an unstable housing situation can lead to stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction. Read more
  • Emigration: While the story of emigration from Ireland is not new, the housing crisis is driving many young people to emigrate for the first time in a period of relative economic stability.

Access to affordable housing affects everyone, with the brunt of systemic failings falling on young people and households with lower incomes. Young people must speak out and advocate for policies that support the delivery of affordable housing to ensure a secure and equitable future for themselves and their peers.

Why is this a Child Rights issue?

  • Adequate Housing: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral, and social development. Adequate housing is a crucial component of this right. The inability of families to access suitable and affordable housing can be seen as a violation of this fundamental right.
  • Impact on Health and Well-being: Inadequate housing conditions, such as overcrowding or substandard living conditions, can have direct and lasting impacts on a child’s physical and mental health. Exposure to damp, cold, or unsanitary conditions can contribute to illnesses and developmental challenges, undermining a child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health.
  • Education: The right to education is another fundamental right outlined in the CRC. The housing crisis, with its associated challenges like frequent relocations, overcrowded living conditions, insecurity and anxiety at home, can disrupt a child’s education, hindering their ability to realise their right to education on an equal basis with others.
  • Homelessness: Children experiencing homelessness face severe challenges in realizing their rights. Lack of a stable and secure home can expose them to numerous risks, including safety concerns, limited access to education, and compromised physical and mental well-being.
  • Child Poverty: The housing crisis often contributes to child poverty, as families struggle to afford housing costs, leaving limited resources for other essential needs such as nutrition, healthcare, and education. Child poverty is a significant concern in the context of child rights.
  • Non-Discrimination: The principle of non-discrimination, outlined in the CRC, emphasizes that all rights should be guaranteed to every child without discrimination. The housing crisis can disproportionately affect certain groups of children, often on the basis of financial income, leading to disparities and violating the principle of non-discrimination.

The number of children now homeless in Ireland climbs to a record  


with 13,841 in emergency accommodation.

Activity 1 – Kahoot Quiz on Housing

Duration: 10 Mins

Activity 2 – Childhood Homelessness: and Its Lasting Effects

Duration: 30 Mins

Children who have experienced homelessness are more likely to have health problems, go hungry, experience developmental delays and have higher rates of depression, anxiety and behaviour disorders than other children . Excessive noise, the lack of space, laundry, bathroom and cooking facilities, the absence of play, no visitor rules, shame, displacement and daily uncertainty all have a negative and long lasting impact on children. The long lasting effects of such trauma and displacement can put the child at increased risk of poverty, social exclusion and adult homelessness long after they have moved out of homeless services.

In this activity, participants will reflect on the long term impacts caused by housing insecurity or homelessness. They will carry out a child rights impact assessment (CRIA) and learn how to use this to draft key messages in advocating for children’s right to adequate housing.

  1. Watch Moving Day Video from Focus Ireland
  2. Encourage participants to reflect on the video and then think deeply about what “home” means to them. Invite them to close their eyes and imagine their idea of home, then write down their thoughts and feelings about it.
  3. Divide participants in to pairs or smaller groups and handout the Child Rights Impact Assessment handout. Ask them to discuss the questions together and fill in the handout.
  4. When the assessment is complete, handout the Child Rights Key Messages handout. Ask participants to follow the steps on the handout and develop a key messages to engage politicians with.

Activity 3 – Housing Crisis Explored

Duration: 40 Mins

The purpose of this activity is to educate participants about the causes of the housing crisis in Ireland and encourage discussion on potential solutions for future generations.

  1. Watch the Video: Begin the session by watching a video that explains the current and long-standing housing crisis in Ireland.
  2. Divide participants in to pairs or smaller groups for discussions, and provide each group with the two handouts. Participants will complete the following steps:
    1. Analyse the current housing crisis and identify key causes, challenges, facing Ireland.
    2. Handout the housing models across Europe: Identify possible models/solutions to Ireland’s housing crisis that your group thinks should be adopted.
    3. Handout the Blueprint of the Future and ask participants to design a future city or community that they would want to live in, by identifying your core values and how those values can be used in the design of future neighbourhoods and communities.

This activity can help your school achieve a Global Passport Award. Learn more or apply at WWGS’s Global Passport Award.
Funded by Irish Aid’s WorldWise Global Schools – contents are the responsibility of its author and do not necessarily represent or reflect WWGS and or Irish Aid policy.

UNICEF | for every child

Stay informed

Add value to your inbox!
Sign up to keep up to date on what's going on around the world.