I propose to take Questions Nos. 50, 51 and 57 together.
One of the key commitments contained in Rebuilding Ireland is to cease the use of hotels for accommodating homeless families except in limited circumstances. I am absolutely committed to this objective. Hotels are not a suitable or secure form of accommodation for families and especially for young children for anything other than a short period of time.
My Department and I are working with local authorities to accelerate the delivery of social housing for those who need it and while these more permanent housing solutions are being put in place, we are working with local authorities to deliver family hubs. These family hubs are a first response only but do provide more suitable, safe and supported family living arrangement.
Family hubs offer family living arrangements with a greater level of stability than is possible in hotel accommodation, with the capacity to provide appropriate play-space, cooking and laundry facilities, communal recreation space, while move-on options to long-term independent living are identified and secured. Furthermore, such arrangements will facilitate more coordinated needs assessment and support planning including on-site access to required services, such as welfare, health, housing services and appropriate family supports. In addition, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive provides ongoing training to all operators of emergency accommodation and nutrition is addressed as part of this training.
I fully recognise that families living in hotel accommodation face many challenges and that is why I want to significantly increase the accommodation available in family hubs. There are currently 20 hubs in operation (17 in Dublin, 2 in Limerick and 1 in Kildare) providing almost 500 units of family accommodation. However, I have asked local authorities to bring forward proposals for further facilities of this kind, located, as much as possible, close to the communities where families are experiencing homelessness. My Department will continue to fund and work proactively with local authorities in relation to the delivery of these hubs.