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Young people are being forgotten in the homeless crisis - group

People who experience homelessness at a young age are at a real risk of experiencing it long term.

That is according to The Irish Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, who are today launching a document outlining the steps that need to be taken to better protect vulnerable young people.

Over 860 of 18 to 24-year-olds are currently living in emergency accommodation - a figure that has more than doubled over the past 4 years.

Their spokesperson Alison Connolly said actions taken now will make a huge difference down the line.

She said: "We know from research, both nationally and internationally that young people who are experiencing homelessness at a young age, are at a real risk of experiencing long term homelessness or kind of cycling through homelessness when they get older.

"We really need to start taking a long term view of tackling this issue and making sure that young people experiencing homelessness now aren't the people we're talking about experiencing homelessness in 20 years."

Ms Connolly said there a number of things the government need to look at.

She said: "Introducing housing first for youth which is a model of housing support that's proved really effective.

"We're also calling for increased investment in prevention and early intervention.

"The third piece is just around tackling some of the existing policies that we think are disadvantaging young people and one of those, in particular, is the reduced rate of social welfare."