The Effects of the Housing Crisis on a Young Person’s Wellbeing

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My name is Ronn Mathew.  I am a student from St Declan’s College and I did my project on how the Housing Crisis has affected a person’s wellbeing.

Homelessness is a genuine problem in Ireland today.  Nearly 18 primary and secondary school students are becoming homeless every day.  The wellbeing and safety of young people who are homeless is seriously affected. Homelessness can make a person feel ashamed or angry at themselves.  This can be shown through the true story of a young person (anonymous) in homelessness:

Since I was young,  my mother has struggled with addiction.  Even though the addiction was her demon, every choice and consequence that came from that addiction directly affected me,  including the many times we were homeless.  We stayed with family members at first,  until my mother burned those bridges.  Then we stayed with friends,  who were few and far between.  But staying in shelters was by far the hardest.  It’s not easy to be a child and be homeless.  You worry what friends will think—if they would look at you differently if they knew—so you keep it hidden,  buried away so no one knows.  The problem with burying things and not acknowledging them,  I came to find,  is that they grow unnoticed inside of you until they become so great they have nowhere to go but out.

Being homeless made me not only ashamed but angry—angry at my mother,  angry at myself,  angry at the world—and I lashed out in every way I knew how. This monster that was homelessness ate away at me until I no longer cared about anyone or anything,  until I became hardened to life and the things that happened to me.

What I didn’t realize then was that I should not have been angry or ashamed,  and what I realize now is that I am not less than others just because I was homeless.

To be honest,  now that I’m older and on my own,  being homeless is still something I struggle with.  I still go from house to house and shelter to shelter.  While I hope that things will change,  at times I am hopeless,  stuck in the mindset that things will remain the same.

I wish people would realize that being homeless isn’t a disease you catch.

It’s also not a choice;  you don’t wake up one morning and decide,  “I think I want to be homeless starting today.”

Story of George Nicolls

The Housing Crisis can also lead to greater divides in class, gender, race and age.  This means that rich people will become richer,  this may be through renting out property at higher prices,  and poor people will become more poor,  as it will be harder for them to afford a house according to their needs.  Students with a lack of affordable housing will cause higher levels of stress and can even lead to suicide.

Living in Many Homes vs Living in One Permanent Home

Children who move home generally have a poorer mental health than those children who remain residentially stable.  Continuous moving will result in children feeling that they are not settled in their location,  but also the setting of a person’s location can influence a child’s mental health.  Children who move from a high poverty neighbourhood to an area of low poverty neighbourhood can experience a reduction in mental health problems.  An individual can get anxiety/stress when moving houses due to uncertainties.

Not having enough money to stay in a permanent house can lead to a never-ending circle of poor mental health making it harder to cope with housing problems to housing problems which worsens your mental health.

Renting vs Buying

Individuals buy their home tend to feel to have more control and security than individuals that rent their home.  A survey in 2019 of 3000 people show that 84% of renters felt insecure about their homes and more than half of this number stated that their mental health was affected by this.  Home ownership can give you a sense of security and of wealth which strengthens your mental health while renting a home cannot give you this sense of security as there is always a possibility that an individual can get evicted from their rented home.  The housing crisis is making it harder for households/individuals to buy or rent homes and inflation in fuel,  electricity and groceries are making it harder to keep up with rent and mortgage.

The Area

As I said before the area/setting of the neighbourhood that a person lives in can affect their mental health. Living in an area of high crime and violence can make a person feel unsafe or concerned about themselves/friends/family in their area which will increase anxiety or stress levels. People who are homeless would have an increase in mental health difficulties.

The Size of the House and Family

The size of a room that a person lives in can affect their mental health. If a person in a household has inadequate space for their needs, it will have an adverse effect on their mental health. Several studies have reported that there is a correlation between crowding and adverse health outcomes. Crowding can also affect physical health.

The Housing Crisis not only affects students but it affects members of staff in schools as it is harder for critical staff to stay at a permanent home that is close to their work place.  The government is finding it difficult to hire qualified teachers for the past 6 months. 

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