Voice and photo project highlight the human stories of homelessness

March 29, 2019: The human stories of homelessness, and the human touch needed to better support people, have been documented in a novel ‘photovoice’ project launched today by Minister Katherine Zappone.

The report Many Voices, No Homes – Voices from the Front line of Homelessness includes detailed personal accounts, together with photographs, of 

lived experiences of homelessness from children, adults, service providers and front line staff.

The report is complemented by a parallel photo exhibition event taking place at South Dublin County Council Libraries in Tallaght and Clondalkin.

The report and photo exhibit highlight a clear wish from those affected and front line staff for interactions and services to be more personalised with greater skills and capacity to engage each families’ unique set of needs and solutions.

The report was commissioned by the South Dublin Children and Young Peoples Services Committee (CYPSC) and supported by the Tallaght based Childhood Development Initiative (CDI). It includes detailed accounts from 19 participants in South Dublin County.

It was launched today by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone.

CYPSC member and CDI CEO Marian Quinn said an interesting and unexpected finding was the insights gathered from service providers and frontline staff. “The extent to which their experiences and responses mirrors that of homeless families – in terms of frustration, hopelessness and feeling disempowered – is striking.”

The photovoice project was developed by Sociologist and UCD Research Fellow and Dr. Maria Quinlan together with photographer and visual artist Patrick Bolger.

Dr. Quinlan said the aim of approach was to “allow the voices of the ‘experts’ in this field – those experiencing homelessness, and those working alongside them – to comprehensively have their say both verbally and visually.”

“While the focus of the project is to identify recommendations, in many cases we already know these but they are not being implemented. However, this project gives insight into how these can be implemented in a way that addresses the lived day to day challenges.”

The photo exhibition has been on display in Tallaght library for the past two weeks and will be on display in Clondalkin library for the coming two weeks. The launch was also attended by the Mayor of South Dublin County Council, Cllr. Mark Ward who welcomed and commended the work.

The report includes ‘human touch’ recommendations such as that:

  • Staff in housing services are supported with specialised training in dealing with vulnerable, distressed groups who are potentially suffering from trauma
  • Extra support is developed for staff to assist families from the migrant community including cultural-awareness and language / translation skills
  • Less reliance on phone-interactions and more face-to-face engagement between families, services providers and front line staff.

The report also set out the practical things which families have said are most important to better their experiences such as:

  • Access to cooking and laundry facilities
  • Assistance with securing rented accommodation
  • Appropriate emergency accommodation services
  • Support navigating the housing system
  • School transportation for children.

To view the full report go to please click here

Further Information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications: (086) 317 9731.