Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (420, 422)

Michael P. Kitt

Question:

420. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is satisfied that he has the most up-to-date information on homelessness; the sources of this information for the homelessness policy statement; the funding available to bring to an end long-term homelessness here; the issues involved in youth homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12954/13]

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Dessie Ellis

Question:

422. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether the development of sustainable, permanent social housing owned by local authorities is an important part of the drive to end long term homelessness. [12957/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 420 and 422 together.

I recently published a Homelessness Policy Statement in which I outlined the Government's aim to end long-term homelessness by the end of 2016. The statement emphasises a housing-led approach which is about accessing permanent housing as the primary response to all forms of homelessness. The availability and supply of secure, affordable and adequate housing is essential in ensuring sustainable tenancies and ending long-term homelessness. When I published the statement, I announced a set of indicators which will be used to demonstrate the dynamics of homelessness as it is addressed. These indicators will give a clearer picture of homelessness in Ireland, and, in quantifying its on-going extent, will support the bringing forward of realistic and practical solutions.

While I acknowledge that the approach to all forms of homelessness, including child, youth and adult homelessness should be fully integrated, my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is currently overseeing a review of the Youth Homelessness Strategy. I established a high-level three-person oversight group for the purpose of reviewing the approach being advocated in the statement, reviewing progress with indicators, identifying obstacles and proposing solutions. In relation to the funding available for homelessness accommodation and related services, the Revised Estimates Volume to be published shortly by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will outline the level of funding available in 2013. The allocation of this funding to housing authorities will be undertaken by my Department in the coming weeks.