The Government recognises that mental health issues can give rise to specific housing needs and this is reflected in the development, by my Department and the Department of Health, of a National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability. The strategy sets out the Government’s framework for housing delivery for people with disabilities, including mental, physical, intellectual and sensory disabilities. It was developed in conjunction with the Government’s mental health policy, ‘A Vision for Change’.
Flowing from the Strategy, local authorities have been mandated to set up Housing and Disability Steering Groups which are tasked with achieving a coordinated and integrated approach to meeting the housing needs of people with a disability, including mental health difficulties. The Housing Agency has also developed a manual to assist local authority staff to support people with mental health difficulties to access housing.
While not all people with mental health difficulties require a specific type of housing, in many cases social care supports are required to assist with adjusting to independent living, which includes issues such as maintaining a tenancy. Together with the Department of Health, my Department currently co-funds a Tenancy Sustainment programme nationally to assist persons with mental health difficulties transitioning from HSE facilities into mainstream social housing to maintain their tenancies.
The National Housing Strategy for People with a Disability will be reviewed in 2020 and housing for people with mental health difficulties will again form part of the considerations in that review.