Monday, 18 March 2024.

Almost one in ten single adults new to emergency accommodation here in the Southwest became homeless due to a relationship breakdown with a parent, according to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage’s latest Performance Report for Q4, 2023.

This is concerning and something we explore in our latest Home Truths paper, Single Adults Living with their Parents, as an increasing proportion of younger single adults remain stuck, living in the family home.

The largest proportional increase in single adults living with parents has been among those in their late twenties. According to Census 2022, one third of all 25-29 year olds were living with their parents in 2022, compared to less than a quarter in 2011. Broadening the age group, almost one-quarter (23%) of 25-34 year olds were living with their parents in 2022, up from 17% in 2011.

While there are no doubt benefits and positives to ‘living at home’ and many parents and adult children will manage the arrangement well, there are cases where this form of ‘doubled up’ housing adds pressure to households, challenges relationships and is inherently insecure for adult children.

A 2021 CSO snapshot study, Life at Home, found higher levels of disagreement in most areas reported among households where adults are living with parents compared to households with unrelated adults living in shared accommodation.

While for adults already at increased risk of homelessness, such as those who have experienced significant adversity, this form of ‘doubled up’ housing can mean ‘double jeopardy’.

Recent research by Bairéad and Norris of UCD Geary Institute suggests adults who have experienced certain life events, particularly adverse life events, are at increased risk of homelessness. They found 71% of adults in homeless emergency accommodation had experienced what they term ‘contributory events’ to homelessness, while three-quarters of younger adults aged 18 to 34 had experienced such events. They group these contributory events into four categories; health events (such as experiences of mental health or addiction issues, time spent in rehabilitation facilities or hospital); life events (including having children, having a partner in emergency accommodation, moving to Ireland from abroad); prior homeless events; and institutional events (including time spent in prison, foster or residential care during childhood). 

Martin’, who is staying at our emergency shelter and shared his experience for the Home Truths report, notes some of these ‘contributory events’ and also how the chronic lack of housing influenced his experience: “I’d been in the family home since God knows how long, but I was tossing and turning with social services and social workers and stuff like that, so that kinda played a big factor in my life really. When my dad died that played a big factor of it. There was no options there for me to get private renting, so I stayed at home. That was the only place I could think of – stick at home. It was just me and my mum. (But) I was tangling with the Simons and Vincents. Me and my mum, we had a fallout. And then all my family were making me out to be toxic and stuff like that. And so, here I am."

Should relationship breakdown with parents occur, the severe lack of options in the housing market further increases the risk of homelessness.

And should single adults end up in emergency accommodation their chances of exiting to a tenancy are minuscule. As we explored in our first Home Truths paper - Single Homelessness in the Southwest, an average of just 5.4% of single adults in emergency accommodation in the region exited to tenancies in 2022.

In our next blog we look at why an increasing proportion of young adults are stranded in the family home.