While ultimate responsibility for managing homelessness rests with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Tusla, is determined to do its part to alleviate the difficulties endured by children and families experiencing homelessness. It works closely with my Department in this regard.
Tusla has an important role to play in regard to a number of elements of the National Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. It is represented on a number of key interagency fora, including the Homelessness Interagency Group and the Dublin Joint Consultative Forum alongside the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).
I am pleased to confirm that the joint protocol is fully operational. I want to replicate this form of Inter-agency co-operation nationally.
Tusla and the DRHE have agreed a joint protocol to facilitate an inter-agency response to the many challenges posed by homelessness. The main aim of the joint protocol is to work in partnership to address the family support needs of homeless families and to promote interagency cooperation.
As part of the protocol, Tusla provides support to the DHRE’s ‘one-stop-shop’ assessment centres. Here the role of Tusla staff is to participate as required with regard to issues involving child protection and welfare, educational welfare and Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence (DSGBV) services.
Referrals received from Case Workers located in Assessment Centres are responded to as appropriate. The Tusla Homelessness Liaison Officer provides broad-based supports to the centres.
Tusla is also working together with the DHRE and the Family Resource Centres, themselves part-funded by Tusla, to coordinate family support services for families in family hubs and other forms of emergency accommodation.
Tusla collects a broad range of data and information relating to child protection. However, Tusla does not currently collect national metrics on homeless families.