The Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is underpinned by more than €6 billion in funding to support the delivery of 50,000 new social housing homes and 87,000 other housing supports by 2021 while also making the best use of the existing housing stock and laying the foundations for a more vibrant housing sector. A significant number of initiatives continue to be implemented under the plan to address the range of complex and deep-seated issues in the housing sector arising from the economic downturn. These include the accelerated delivery of social and affordable housing as well as increased protections for those in the rental sector.
Within Rebuilding Ireland, tackling homelessness is identified as a key priority for the Government and it continues to be addressed with the urgency the seriousness of the situation demands. Increasing the level of overall housing supply, particularly in terms of social housing, and ensuring stability in the rental sector are essential to addressing fully the challenging situation in relation to homelessness, and very substantial progress continues to be made in those areas. In parallel with that, additional and improved emergency accommodation is being provided, including through additional supported emergency beds and family hubs, in order to ensure that the needs of those who find themselves in a situation of homelessness can be responded to in as comprehensive and compassionate a manner as possible.
The focus remains on preventing homelessness to the greatest extent possible and ensuring that pathways out of homelessness are secured as quickly as possible for those individuals and families in emergency accommodation. Budget 2019 reflects the commitment of the Government in this regard, with an allocation of €146 million for homeless services by local authorities this year, an increase of over 25% on the 2018 allocation. Rebuilding Ireland is delivering very significant results in supporting exits from homelessness. In 2018, 5,135 adults exited homelessness into independent tenancies, an 8.6% increase on 2017. It is disappointing that this level of achievement, although substantial, was not sufficient to keep pace with the extent of new presentations. The Deputy can be assured that I and my Department, working with the local authorities and other homeless service providers, remain fully seized of the seriousness of the homelessness situation and fully committed to delivering fully on the actions required to address all of the issues involved.