Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (513)

Mattie McGrath


513. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of children and families currently availing of emergency accommodation in south Tipperary; the types of that accommodation hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts; the amount her Department has spent in providing emergency accommodation in south Tipperary since the Government's term of office began; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23237/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On 20 May 2014, I published the Implementation Plan on the State's Response to Homelessness in which the Government's approach to delivery on its objective of ending involuntary long-term homelessness by the end of 2016 was outlined. A copy of this plan is available on my Department's website, http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/Housing/SpecialNeeds/HomelessPeople/. This plan sets out a range of measures to secure a ring-fenced supply of accommodation to house homeless households within the next three years and mobilise the necessary supports. Progress in implementing the plan will be reported quarterly through the Cabinet Committee on Social Policy.

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 and related services rests with housing authorities. The purposes for which housing authorities may incur expenditure in addressing homelessness are prescribed in Section 10 of the Housing Act 1988.

My Department does not fund any service directly but provides funding to lead housing authorities on a regional basis towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services under Section 10 of the Housing Act 1998. Housing authorities provide additional funding from their own resources. The regional approach is considered more appropriate as it helps to bring a more strategic perspective to bear on action to address homelessness, including avoidance of over-concentration of homelessness services in certain centres and promoting appropriate regional availability of services, consistent with need.

A recent survey of lead housing authorities confirmed that 142 unique individuals were in Section 10-funded emergency accommodation in the South East Region during the week of 7 to 13 April 2014. Further details are provided in the recently published Implementation Plan referred to above. South Tipperary County Council is one of the housing authorities in the South East Region. A detailed breakdown of the number of families in this region and in South Tipperary is not available in my Department. Details of expenditure on emergency accommodation for the South East Region since 2011 are presented in the following table.