Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Questions (275)

Neasa Hourigan


275. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he plans to review the local connection rule in relation to homeless services and its implementation by local authorities in view of the particular challenges faced by the Roma community in finding suitable housing in the State and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57094/21]

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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 local authorities in addressing homelessness at a local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual local authorities.

Under the Housing Act 1988 it is a matter for each local authority to determine whether a person is regarded as homeless; section 2 of the Act sets out the requirements in this regard. When a household has been assessed as homeless, section 10 of the Housing Act 1988, provides that a local authority may provide accommodation and related services to that household.

Having regard to the statutory role of housing authorities under the Housing Act 1988, all households are assessed, and provided with homeless services, in accordance with the provisions of the legislation, irrespective of ethnicity.

The organisation of accommodation services is a matter for the relevant housing authorities, and in Dublin, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive. Housing authorities can and do consider requests for homeless supports and have provided emergency accommodation to non-Irish national applicants, in line with current provisions under the Housing Act 1988.

Housing for All, a New Housing Plan for Ireland, adopted and published in September 2021, acknowledges that housing policy must address the needs of socially excluded members of society. It states that, “It is recognised that Traveller and Roma communities are represented amongst the homeless population. We will support continued implementation of the current National Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy 2017-2021, and actions to be identified in the successor to that strategy.” It is within this context and framework that wider housing policy matters are being further addressed.