I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 73 together.
My Department publishes monthly reports on homelessness and the report in respect of January was published today and is available on the Department's website. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities and produced through the pathway accommodation and support system, PASS.
The reports capture details of individuals utilising State-funded emergency homeless accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities.
The report for January shows that a total of 1,517 families were using emergency accommodation during the survey period. Of these, 700 homeless families were recorded as staying in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation in the Dublin region. Some 45% of these families had been resident in such accommodation for less than six months. The Government is committed to addressing the use of hotels for emergency accommodation and we are working closely with the local authorities to secure the necessary alternative accommodation. The delivery of family hubs has been an important response and there are now almost 500 units of family accommodation in these hubs. These facilities offer a greater level of stability than is possible in hotels, with the capacity to provide appropriate play-space, cooking and laundry facilities. In January, I held a second housing summit with the local authority chief executives at which I asked them to develop proposals for the development of more family hubs and, as far as possible, to locate these hubs close to the communities where families are experiencing homelessness. My Department will fund and work with local authorities on the delivery of the hubs.
Significant progress is being made on exiting people from homelessness. Last month, in Dublin alone, 92 families exited emergency accommodation, including hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation and 70 families were prevented from having to enter homeless accommodation. During 2017, a total of 1,263 families in the Dublin region were moved on from hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation arrangements into either independent tenancies or more appropriate hub accommodation. Last year, over 4,000 exits from homelessness were achieved nationally, into sustainable tenancies in local authority and approved housing body housing and housing assistance payment, HAP, supported accommodation. Every effort will continue to be made to achieve the maximum number of exits from homelessness this year, assisted by the recent extension to all local authorities of the homeless HAP placefinders service, which has been a key response in Dublin and in Cork since its introduction there last year.