The Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness provides for early solutions to address the high number of households in emergency accommodation. These include the delivery of increased social housing supply through new-build, acquisition and refurbishment schemes and independent tenancies for homeless households in the private rented sector through housing supports, such as the enhanced housing assistance payment, HAP. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of housing, homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities, while my Department’s role involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is working with each of the four Dublin local authorities to support the delivery of a number of family hubs, which will provide homeless families with more appropriate and supported temporary accommodation, as an alternative to hotel accommodation. The facilities in question will provide a suite of children's services, laundry facilities and cooking facilities and will provide space for families to engage with their key workers and with local authorities in relation to finding more permanent housing solutions.
In addition to being required to comply with normal statutory requirements, including in regard to fire safety, there are guidelines in place, which were developed by my Department in consultation with the Dublin local authorities, on best practice and standards for temporary accommodation for families. In so far as family hubs are concerned, this guidance includes standards in regard to minimum sizes for family units and the provision of living spaces.
Furthermore, the Dublin authorities are also guided in the provision of temporary accommodation for families by the national quality standards framework for homelessness services, which the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has developed. This framework is consistent with Health Information and Quality Authority, HIQA, standards and seeks a minimum level of quality in the provision of temporary accommodation for homeless families.
In terms of standards and quality, it should also be noted that the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has an inspection regime in place to deal with complaints and to ensure targets are met and accommodation is appropriate and safe. The inspection team has a work programme, which includes site visits and interaction with homeless families and individuals on issues arising in their accommodation.