Skip to main content
Normal View

Housing Provision

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 5 April 2022

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Questions (312, 313, 314, 315, 348, 349)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

312. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the Housing for All to objective to work towards eradicating homelessness by 2030. [17541/22]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

313. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the Housing for All objective to increase Housing First targets to 1,200 tenancies over five years for homeless people. [17542/22]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

314. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the Housing for All objective to establish a new national homeless action committee. [17543/22]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

315. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will report on the Housing for All objective to expand street outreach teams for rough sleepers nationwide. [17544/22]

View answer

Gerald Nash

Question:

348. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will provide an update on the development of a youth homelessness strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18006/22]

View answer

Gerald Nash

Question:

349. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will provide an update on the progress of the expansion of street outreach services to engage with rough sleepers in key urban areas outside Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18007/22]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 312 to 315, inclusive, 348 and 349 together.

Supporting individuals and families facing homelessness is a key Government priority. Through Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland, the Government’s strategic housing plan to 2030, the Government is committed to taking action to prevent entries into homelessness in the first instance and to help those experiencing homelessness to exit into secure and sustained tenancies. It also includes measures targeted specifically at those experiencing homelessness with complex needs. It commits to the continued expansion of the Housing First programme, and, importantly, ensuring that health and mental health supports are provided for homeless persons.

Under Housing for All, my Department has committed to actively participate through the newly established European Platform on Combatting Homelessness (EPOCH) to advance the Lisbon Declaration on Combatting Homelessness signed in June 2021. Under EPOCH, Ireland has committed to “promote the prevention of homelessness, access to permanent housing and the provision of enabling support services to the homeless”. Housing for All outlines how the Government will work towards ending homelessness by 2030, detailing 18 distinct actions tailored to achieve this target. This includes increasing access to supports for both individuals and families.

Ireland has committed to support EPOCH policy measures with adequate funding and, when appropriate, make use of EU funding as a lever to improve the way the EU address homelessness. Budget 2022 made provision for €194 million in funding for homeless services. This funding in 2022 reflects the priority the Government is giving to homelessness.

Under EPOCH, Ireland has committed to share good practices in combatting homelessness. I recently attended a ministerial level meeting of EPOCH, whereby I discussed the most pressing issues in homelessness today with my European colleagues, and where the work programme of the Platform was adopted.

As provided for in Housing for All, the National Homeless Action Committee (NHAC) was established in Q4 2021. The first meeting took place in December 2021 and the second took place in February of this year. The work of NHAC is informed by Housing for All. The overarching objective of NHAC is to ensure that a renewed emphasis is brought to collaborating across Government to implement actions in the Plan, along with bringing better coherence and coordination of homeless-related services in delivering policy measures and actions to address homelessness. It is intended that meetings of NHAC will take place quarterly, with the third meeting due to be held in April. Details in respect of NHAC and a note of its meetings are published on my Department’s website on an ongoing basis

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a Youth Homelessness Strategy and this is articulated in Housing for All. It was agreed at the first meeting of the NHAC that the development of this Strategy would be one of the first priorities of NHAC.

The aim of this Strategy is to help young people who are aged 18 – 24 and who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

A 3-week Public Consultation ran from 22 February and further consultations will take place in the next month. My Department, with the support of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, is also consulting directly with a number of key stakeholders. The Strategy is currently being developed and is intended for publication later this year.

Housing for All also committed to the further expansion of Housing First. A new National Implementation Plan, which provides for a further 1,319 tenancies covering the period 2022-2026, was published in December 2021. The new Plan outlines the targets for each region and in each year.

The implementation of the Plan is a joint initiative of my Department, the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive (HSE), the criminal justice sector (the Probation Service and the Irish Prison Service) and Local Authorities, in conjunction with NGO partners. Each partner is committing the necessary resources and supports to implement the programme. A new Housing First Directorate has been established, and is based in the Housing Agency. The newly appointed Director is responsible for managing the implementation of the new Plan.

To aid in the further expansion of the Housing First approach, and in line with commitments made in Housing for All, it is planned to extend outreach and intensive engagement services to every region in the country ensuring that those most in need of the intense supports provided by Housing First will be able to avail of them.

To support this commitment The Housing Agency, in partnership with the HSE and in consultation with key Departments and agencies, is developing a good practice manual for the operation of assertive outreach services. This manual will assist regions in expanding outreach services into those urban areas in which rough sleeping is understood to be a concern. This manual is to be published by mid-2022.

Resources are being made available to expand outreach services. As part of their homelessness expenditure programmes for 2022, which are supported by Exchequer funding, local authorities were invited in November 2021 to submit proposals to my Department for additional outreach services in their annual expenditure programme for 2022.

Question No. 313 answered with Question No. 312.
Question No. 314 answered with Question No. 312.
Question No. 315 answered with Question No. 312.
Top
Share