Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (54, 357)

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

54. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the person or body that inspects private homeless hostels to ensure support services for persons who have become homeless are provided and to ensure that standards are met in the delivery of these support services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38184/20]

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Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

357. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the National Quality Standards Framework will be implemented in private hostels that have been contracted to provide accommodation for persons who have become homeless; the way in which this will be implemented given the absence of professional support workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38516/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 357 together.

The National Quality Standards Framework (NQSF) for homeless services is in place nationally for local authority and NGO delivered services.

Local authorities carry out inspections on facilities that are not covered under the Framework. For example, The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, that has responsibility for over 70% of all homeless persons nationally has Standards and Facilities Teams to oversee all emergency accommodation and seek to ensure that all relevant guidelines, policies and procedures are complied with.

The DRHE has an inspection regime in place to deal with complaints and to ensure accommodation is appropriate and safe. This includes engaging with homeless families and individuals on issues arising in their accommodation.

I understand that since January 2020, the DRHE has carried out 126 unannounced inspections of privately operated emergency accommodation facilities. Monitoring and inspections are also carried out in accommodation facilities by other key stakeholders such as the HSE and Tusla.

Guidelines for Service Users in Emergency Accommodation were recently reviewed by the DRHE and issued to clients in private emergency accommodation. The DRHE has assured me that it has a thorough complaints procedure in place, and that each complaint is fully investigated and addressed in a timely manner.

Separate to the service standards expected of providers via service level agreements, all homeless service providers must meet the requirements of statutory codes, in particular the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Fire Services Acts.