Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (414)

Patrick O'Donovan


428 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of the numbers of persons aged 18 to 25 years in emergency accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34736/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

A statutory assessment of housing need is carried out every three years by all housing authorities. The Housing Agency's Housing Needs Assessment 2008 and 2011 reports break down the categories of housing need, including in respect of homelessness, for all 88 housing authorities nationwide. These are available on my Department's website at www.e nviron.ie.

However, as the Housing Needs Assessment only counts homeless persons where an application has been made to a housing authority, it was decided in September 2011 that details on the extent of homelessness in the Dublin region, where numbers are most pronounced, would be reviewed and updated using the now fully operational Pathway Accommodation & Support System, PASS, and crosschecked against each of the Dublin local authorities housing management data systems to give an accurate figure of the known homeless population in Dublin.

Following extensive cross checking and quality control to remove duplications and ensure accuracy of all data entries the confirmed extent of homelessness in the Dublin region as at September 2011 was 1,891 persons. PASS, which commenced operation in the Dublin region in 2011, is being extended nationally on a phased basis with work under way in other regions. It is intended that the PASS system will be operational across the entire country by end 2012. The PASS system will in future provide good quality and timely data on homelessness nationally as an evidence base for all homelessness services.

My Department's role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of accommodation for homeless persons rests with the housing authorities and the purposes for which housing authorities may incur expenditure in addressing homelessness are prescribed in section 10 of the Housing Act 1988.

Funding is used to support emergency, transitional and long-term accommodation of homeless persons, as well as prevention, assessment, placement, outreach and day services. The throughput of persons - single instance and also repeat presentations to a variety of agencies - receiving assistance and support with emergency homeless accommodation is not collected nationally. Therefore, my Department does not have information on the number of persons aged 18 to 25 years or their length of stay in emergency homeless accommodation.