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Old people’s homes being used to house migrant minors

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Several old people’s homes in Larnaca are being used to host unaccompanied migrant children due to lack of space in reception centres, the House labour committee heard on Tuesday.

According to Akel MP Skevi Koukouma, the retirement homes the children are being placed in are often also at full-capacity, with the children sleeping on couches or the floor.

Other MPs of the committee referred to two Larnaca homes for the elderly which have a capacity for 25, but host 35 unaccompanied minors.

Confirming the phenomenon, head of the social welfare services Maria Kyradji said that “at some stage an overcrowding of children did occur in some places.” She added however that the number of children living with the elderly has decreased.

Kyradji explained that while there are currently 27 institutions of the social welfare services islandwide, the number of unaccompanied minors has risen tenfold since 2012 “putting great pressure on the state.”

At the same time, Kyradji said there is also a lack of cooperation, for example by municipalities, so that more appropriate living conditions can be found for the minors.

Statistics from the asylum service show that 216 unaccompanied minors sought asylum in Cyprus in 2016, 224 in 2017, and 192 between January and October 2018.

Reports in July placed the number of unaccompanied minors in Cyprus at 360.

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