I propose to take Questions Nos. 501 to 503, inclusive, together.
My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. While responsibility for the provision of accommodation for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities, the administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis.
The administration of homeless services is organised on a regional basis as this approach is considered more effective, bringing a strategic perspective to bear, including avoidance of over-concentration of homelessness services in certain areas and promoting appropriate regional availability of services, consistent with need. In this regard, Kildare is included in the Mid-East Region along with the counties of Meath and Wicklow, while Laois is included in the Midlands Region along with the counties of Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.
Regional funding allocations are delegated to a lead-authority in each region and under these arrangements responsibility for assessment and decision-making in relation to the funding of services rests with the relevant regional Homeless Management Group, overseen by the lead-authority, within the available allocations.
As part of the delegated arrangements in place, my Department receives performance reports on a quarterly basis from the regional lead authorities. These reports provide information on the numbers of adults in emergency accommodation for longer than six months. The most recently submitted reports (Quarter 1 2019) show that on 31 March 2019, 47 adults in the Midlands Region and 124 adults in the Mid-East Region had been in emergency accommodation for longer than six months.
With regard to the numbers of persons rough sleeping in Co. Kildare, the data requested by the Deputy is not held by my Department. I understand that the incidence of rough sleeping in Co. Kildare is limited to a small number of individuals, with no one sleeping rough due to a lack of available services. When rough sleeping does occur, housing authority-funded outreach workers will engage with the rough sleeper to encourage them to avail of services, including accommodation.