Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (58)

Joe Costello

Ceist:

180 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the call made by the Depaul Trust for the appointment of an ombudsman for the homeless; his views on the call; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2858/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

While I am aware that the Depaul Trust has suggested the establishment of an ombudsman to deal with the issue of homelessness there are no proposals for such an appointment. The issue of homelessness is already being dealt with at a number of levels under the overall aegis of my Department. The Government's serious commitment to tackling the issue has been displayed in a number of ways in recent years. These include increased funding for the provision of accommodation related services from €12.5 million in 1999 to €50 million last year, the publication and implementation of the integrated and preventative homeless strategies, the establishment of homeless fora at local authority level, and the drafting of the homeless action plans.

The horizontal issues affecting homelessness, identified in the homeless strategies, are being pursued through the cross-Department team on homelessness. It is also open to persons wishing to do so to raise appropriate issues relating to homelessness with the Ombudsman.