Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (49)

Michael Healy-Rae


49. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Taoiseach the person or body that takes account for homeless persons when the census is been compiled (details supplied). [18917/19]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Central Statistics Office carried out the homeless count as part of Census 2016.

The methodology for conducting the homeless count was to identify establishments where homeless persons were staying on Census night and also to carry out a rough sleepers count on the night of Census, 24th April, 2016.

In 2011 the list of establishments was compiled mainly from a list of accommodation and establishments being funded by the State, supplemented by CSO’s own contacts with NGOs providing voluntary homeless accommodation.

Due to the extent of homelessness in 2016, the variety of approaches being used to accommodate homeless persons increased. This served to heighten the complexity of conducting the homeless count.

Significantly, there was increased reliance on the use of commercial hotels for accommodating adults with child dependents in lieu of access to established temporary emergency accommodation for homeless persons.

The methodology used to identify a person as homeless for the purposes of enumeration was agreed in advance at a meeting of the Census Homeless Methodology Liaison Group, held on January 8th, 2015. This meeting was attended by major stakeholders involved in providing services to the homeless. The membership of the Census Homeless Methodology Liaison Group was drawn from the following organisations:

- Focus Ireland

- Simon Communities of Ireland

- St Vincent De Paul

- Depaul Ireland

- Peter McVerry Trust

- National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA NUI Maynooth)

- Cork City Council

- Westmeath County Council

- Sophia

- School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College

- Dublin Region Homeless Executive

- Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government

- Central Statistics Office

At that meeting it was agreed that persons would be classified as being homeless on the basis of where they spent Census Night, as opposed to some element of self-identification, such as responding to a specific question on the census form. This is the same approach used to enumerate homeless persons in Census 2011.

It was also agreed that DHPLG, local authorities and agencies working with the homeless would provide CSO with lists of accommodation which were designated as providing shelter for homeless persons. To facilitate this approach, the Pathway Accommodation and Support System (PASS) was utilised to help identify these establishments. PASS is the national client management data system hosted by the DRHE (National PASS Office) on behalf of the Department and all housing authorities. All Ireland’s local authorities use PASS on a daily basis as the data system that supports interactions with persons using homeless services in their locality.

The DRHE was responsible for the delivery of rough sleeper counts in Dublin. Elsewhere in the country, the enumerators were to be cognisant of their areas and report any rough sleepers to their supervisors for enumeration.

In advance of Census 2021, it is the intention of the CSO to reconvene the Census Homeless Methodology Liaison Group and ensure that any relevant bodies working with Homeless persons are represented on the group.

A link is attached for the deputy with more detailed information on methodological notes on the Census 2016 homeless count.