Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Questions (663)

John Lahart


663. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if it is normal practice for his Department to fund homeless hubs in Dublin or nationally; if not, if his Department been requested to fund homeless hubs; if so, the person or body by which and the reason therefor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37061/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

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.  Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of emergency accommodation and related services for homeless persons rests with individual housing authorities. 

Rebuilding Ireland, the Government's Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, includes the objective that hotels will only be used in limited circumstances as emergency accommodation for families.  To meet this objective, housing authorities are pursuing the delivery of a range of additional and enhanced family-focused facilities, or family hubs, which offer a greater level of stability than is possible in hotel, until such time as a home can be secured. 

There are currently 28 hubs operational nationally, offering approximately 660 units of family accommodation.  Of these hubs 22 are in Dublin, with one each in Clare, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Limerick and Louth.  Further facilities will become operational during the remainder of 2019, details of which will become available as projects are finalised by the housing authorities.

Funding is provided by my Department towards capital costs associated with the development of family hub accommodation.  In 2017 and 2018 capital payments amounting to €8.74 million and €21.96m, respectively,  were made in respect of operational hub facilities.  The total capital spend for the provision of emergency accommodation, including family hub facilities, was €14.2 million and €48.5 million in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  The funding to be provided in 2019 will be dependent on the progress made by local authorities on the development of further family hubs over the rest of the year. 

In relation to the operational funding for the family hubs, my Department provides funding to housing authorities on a regional basis towards the operational costs of homeless accommodation and related services.  Under the funding arrangements, housing authorities must provide at least 10% of the cost of services from their own resources. Housing authorities may also incur additional expenditure on homeless related services outside of the funding arrangements with my Department.  Therefore, the exact amounts spent by housing authorities on homeless services, as well as the types of accommodation and the service providers engaged, are a matter for those authorities.  Financial reports from each of the regions, setting out expenditure on homeless services, including family hubs, in each region in 2018, are published on my Department's website at the following link: https://www.housing.gov.ie/search/sub-type/financial-report.