I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 51 together. I thank Deputy Broughan for the excellent questions. I believe the Deputy is aware that I am committed to helping children and families as part of the whole-of-Government response to the problem of homelessness. I believe that living in emergency accommodation such as hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation impacts negatively on the health of children and their families. Living in very confined spaces gives rise to a lot of stress. Children have no facilities to do their homework. Parents have spoken to me about the difficulty in toilet training toddlers. My Department has co-funded a study on food access and nutritional health among families living in hotel accommodation. It did not make for pleasant reading but it absolutely confirmed that this type of accommodation is not conducive to healthy children or healthy families.
We are trying to find a solution which, in the medium term, provides an environment where children and families can live in a less stressed, less cramped environment. This is why the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has accelerated the provision of family hubs. I have visited some of these myself, both purpose built and an existing building. Importantly, they provide space for children to play. The hubs also provide a better setting for supports such as homework clubs, meeting with support workers and activities that are organised for both children and parents.
They are not a long-term solution but, in my opinion and from what families have told me, the hubs are a big improvement on hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation. There are currently 11 hubs in operation. Ten of these are in Dublin and one is in Limerick. Between them, they provide just over 300 units of family accommodation. Four new hubs will be delivered before the end of the year. These will provide more than 100 additional units of family accommodation in Dublin. Two further new hubs will be delivered in Limerick before the end of the year, providing 34 units of family accommodation. Early next year, there will be more than 55 further units of family accommodation in Dublin with the opening of two new hubs. In addition, there will be a 19 unit family hub opening in Cork early in the new year. There is a proposal in planning for a hub in Galway.
Through my Department, I have introduced free child care for the children of families experiencing homelessness. Some families are already eligible under existing schemes. I am happy to say that the families of an additional 154 children are availing of this measure, which also provides for a daily meal for the child. This was introduced as a direct response to a request from the homeless agencies to do this. It was a response to the needs of the child and also the needs of the parents. In addition, I asked Tusla to fund the provision of child support workers for one of the homeless agencies, which it has done. It has also appointed a homelessness liaison officer who works with all the other agencies and providers helping homeless families.
As we discussed earlier, Tusla also has responsibility for the school completion programme. This provides supports for children at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system. It does this through initiatives such as after-school supports, homework clubs, mentoring programmes, therapeutic interventions, and breakfast clubs. In response to the homeless crisis, all school completion programmes now engage with schools on an ongoing basis, not just at the start of the year, so that children who become homeless during the course of the year are provided with support through the school completion programme.
Tusla and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, at my request, are also supporting an initiative to support women who are pregnant and homeless or at risk of homelessness. Tusla is providing funding for the recruitment of support workers for this service. Our children and their families need permanent homes. That is the goal of the Government. In the meantime, I will continue to support measures to help these children and their families, both within my area of responsibility and also with colleagues in other Departments.