The importance of homeless preventative measures, such as housing advice, advocacy and tenancy support are acknowledged in the homeless strategy, The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2008-2013. Early and effective interventions are essential to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of homelessness. Wider Government policy initiatives to tackle early school leaving, unemployment, addiction and mental ill-health and supports for vulnerable families will ultimately contribute to a reduction in the number of people becoming homeless. An effective role is also necessary at local level in identifying and addressing the needs of at risk households and groups and encouraging the development of preventative measures on a regional basis.
Earlier in 2013, I published the Government's 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, and includes provision for homelessness preventative measures and supports for homeless people with special needs. The availability and supply of secure, affordable and adequate housing is essential in ensuring sustainable tenancies and ending long-term homelessness.
Arrangements have been put in place to provide for the delegation of homelessness funding to the lead housing authority in each of the 9 regions. These arrangements seek to ensure that the measures being pursued by housing authorities reflect the housing-led approach advocated in the policy statement, that actions are in place towards achieving the target of ending long-term homelessness by the end of 2016, and that evidence to support progress will be presented through the reports on the relevant service indicators.