Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ceisteanna (299, 300)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

301 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of citizens currently homeless in total on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47725/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

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

Under Section 9 of the Housing Act 1988, local authorities are required to carry out an assessment of the overall need for social housing on a triennial basis. The most recent assessment took place in March 2008 and the results, including those in relation to homelessness are published in the 2008 Annual Housing Statistics Bulletin. This is available on my Departments website www.environ.ie.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

302 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the measures being taken during the current weather conditions to assist citizens who are homeless and have been sleeping rough; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47726/10]

Amharc ar fhreagra

My Department reminded local authorities last month, in the context of the extreme cold weather conditions, of the need for vigilance in relation to any possible incidences of rough sleeping. Housing authorities have wide and flexible statutory powers to assist or make arrangements for the accommodation of homeless persons and have adequate arrangements in place to deal with any possible issues. They have been requested to maintain a proactive approach, including appropriate monitoring/contact, to ensure, as far as possible, that no person is left vulnerable due to lack of access to local emergency accommodation, should the need arise. A number of large urban areas where there may be incidences of rough sleeping have implemented new cold weather initiatives including Dublin City Council, Galway City Council, Limerick City Council, and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

In Dublin, homeless services are strictly monitoring rough sleeping on a daily basis to ensure that there is sufficient bed capacity in emergency homeless accommodation. If a person is experiencing homelessness or rough sleeping they can access emergency accommodation through the Homeless Persons Unit or they will be linked into accommodation through the proactive Outreach Teams, who are on the streets on a daily basis ensuring that people are accommodated.