Written Answers. - Homeless Persons.

John Gormley

Question:

587 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on whether special measures need to be introduced to deal with the 27% to 40% of homeless people who suffer from mental illness; the package of measures he intends to introduce in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20012/00]

On 2 May last, Deputy Molloy, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government, with special responsibility for housing, launched a Government strategy for the adult homeless, Homelessness – An Integrated Strategy. The strategy requires each health board to carry out an assessment of the needs of the homeless in its functional area.

Each health board will examine its range of responses to the health and personal social service needs of homeless persons, including those suffering from mental illness, in consultation with the homeless forum in the area and draw up an action plan for meeting such needs. Officials in my Department are currently preparing comprehensive guidelines to assist the health boards in drawing up these action plans.

It is also recognised in Homelessness – An Integrated Strategy, that those leaving institutional care, be it custodial or health related, are one of the principal groups at risk of becoming homeless. Officials in my Department are also developing a preventative strategy aimed at preventing homelessness among those at risk which will be published as soon as possible.