I propose to take Questions Nos. 664 and 665 together.
The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability (NHSPWD) 2011-2016 was published in late 2011 and the associated National Implementation Framework was published in July 2012. These are joint publications by my Department and the Department of Health and set out the Government’s broad framework for the delivery of housing for people with disabilities through mainstream housing policy. They were developed as part of a coherent framework, in conjunction with the Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change, the Report of the Working Group on Congregated Settings and the Value for Money Review of Disability Services, to support people with disabilities within community-based living with maximum independence and choice.
Considerable progress has been made since the Strategy was published. Implementation of the Strategy is being driven primarily by the Housing Agency. A dedicated Housing Subgroup chaired by the Housing Agency was established in 2012 to progress implementation and includes representatives from my Department, the HSE, the Department of Health, local authorities, the Irish Council for Social Housing and various disability representative organisations. The Housing Agency sub-group has met on 25 occasions since its establishment.
National Guidelines for the Assessment and Allocation Process for Housing Provision for People with a Disability, a key output under the NHSPWD, have been developed and was adopted for implementation by housing authorities with effect from November 2014.
Implementation of the Congregated Settings Report, led by the HSE, is supported by my Department through the NHSPWD. My Department is represented on the HSE Working Group and is supporting the ongoing work to progress the transitioning of individuals from congregated settings. In addition, the Housing Agency subgroup has established two task groups to progress the priority actions in relation to mental health and in relation to actions for individuals with a disability living in the community. Much work has been done to deliver on these issues and this will continue.
The majority of housing authorities have now established Housing and Disability Steering Groups (HDSGs), chaired by the authority and including the HSE and disability representative organisations, to achieve a co-ordinated and integrated approach to meeting the housing needs of people with disabilities. All HDSGs will be up and running in the coming months. As part of the priority action to ensure equitable access for people with disabilities, each HSDG must prepare a Strategic Plan for each county/city area which aims to identify the housing needs of people with a disability, both current and emerging over the next five years, and develop specific local strategies to meet the identified needs. Most of the Strategic Plans have now been prepared and it is intended that they will be collated by the Housing Agency into a draft National Plan.
An Implementation Monitoring Group was established in 2012 to monitor and report on progress, and has met on seven occasions since then. The group is chaired by my Department and comprises representatives of the Department of Health, the HSE, the National Disability Authority, the National Service Users Executive and disability representative organisations. The first progress report of the Implementation Monitoring Group was published in 2014 and is available on my Department’s website at:
It is intended to hold a meeting of the IMG early in 2016 with a view to further updating progress.