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.
The specific matter referred to by the Deputy is primarily a matter for Dublin City Council and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive as the relevant authorities and I understand that they have issued a public statement outlining the operational reasons for their actions and the manner in which it was carried out.
It is vital that we continue to deliver the appropriate measures to ensure that all individuals experiencing homelessness are supported to exit into permanent housing solutions and that those with complex health and mental health needs are provided with the supports they need. My Department is working closely with the Department of Health, the HSE and local authorities in respect of these issues.
The Programme for Government includes measures targeted specifically at those experiencing homelessness with complex needs. It commits to the continued expansion of Housing First, and, importantly, ensuring that health and mental health supports are provided. The provision of addiction and mental health supports has featured prominently in meetings of the High Level Homelessness Task Force that I established and in my regular interactions with the Minister for Health.
Engaging directly with rough sleepers is vital and this engagement is first and foremost to encourage those rough sleeping to avail of shelter. Critically, it also allows their health needs to be assessed and provided for. Services operate throughout the year with an increased emphasis during cold weather periods.
Our overriding objective is to provide long-term homes for all individuals experiencing homelessness.