Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (61)

Mick Barry


61. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the measures he plans to take to reduce homelessness; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38334/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future, commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and provides detail on how the Government is approaching this work as a priority. This year, we are seeing a reduction in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation.

Homelessness is complex and causal factors and family circumstances vary considerably as do the responses needed. Homelessness is also inter-related with the other areas of the housing system and indeed with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery. Therefore, a whole of Government approach is required in dealing with this ongoing challenge.

In terms of my own Department's areas of responsibility one of the key issues to be addressed in dealing with homelessness is to increase the supply of housing, particularly for those on the lowest incomes. To this end, the Programme for Government commits to the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes. In particular, we commit to increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 homes with an emphasis on new builds.

The Programme for Government also recognises that many households experiencing homelessness have additional support needs and includes specific measures to address these needs. These include measures to help rough sleepers into sustainable accommodation, the continued expansion of Housing First, with a focus on the construction and acquisition of one-bed homes, and, importantly, ensuring that there are dedicated funding and resources to deliver the necessary health and mental health supports required to assist homeless people with complex needs.