Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Ceisteanna (43, 61, 68, 69, 70, 86)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

43. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the latest homeless figures; the councils that have discrepancies in their figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19781/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mick Barry

Ceist:

61. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the breakdown of the recently claimed overstatement of homelessness of 600, by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19838/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

68. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the local authorities that returned incorrect data to his Department in relation to homeless figures for January and February 2018; his views on the accuracy of the figures announced on 30 April 2018 in relation to March 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19789/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

69. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he is satisfied that local authorities are providing accurate data to his Department in relation to housing and homelessness figures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19796/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joan Collins

Ceist:

70. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason he plans to amend the reporting of homeless figures from monthly to quarterly; and if he will clarify his announcement that the homeless figures are 500 to 600 less than the official reports. [19782/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

86. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will report on the latest homeless figures; the reason he is of the view these figures have been overstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19866/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43, 61, 68, 69, 70 and 86 together.

My Department currently publishes data on a monthly basis on the number of homeless persons accommodated in emergency accommodation funded and overseen by housing authorities. These reports are based on data provided by housing authorities, produced through the Pathway Accommodation & Support System (PASS). The reports are collated on a regional basis.

During the compilation of the March Homeless Report, in the course of examining data from local authorities, my Department established that a number of local authorities had miscategorised individuals accommodated in houses and apartments, owned or leased by the local authorities, including in some instances people renting in the private rented sector but in receipt of social housing supports, as being in emergency accommodation. As these issues have not yet yet been fully addressed, I am not in position to provide a complete account of the extent of such practices. My Department is writing to local authorities as part of its continuing examination of the matter.

However, I can say that a total of 247 adults and 331 associated dependents, residing in houses and apartments, were categorised as being in emergency accommodation in the Dublin, South- West, Mid-West, North-East and South-East Regions. These categorisations were corrected prior to the publication of the March report. I flagged the issue that had arisen very clearly when publishing the March figures and was also clear that the figures would have been higher had the corrections I referred to not been made.

My priority as Minister is to ensure that families and individuals are moved from emergency accommodation, such as hostels, hotels and family hubs, into housing. I am satisfied that individuals and families who are being accommodated in publicly funded houses or apartments, whether it be social housing or homes leased from the private rented sector, should not be considered as living in emergency accommodation.

The issues which have emerged indicate clearly to me that we need improved reporting in this area in order to accurately reflect the numbers of households in emergency accommodation so that we can measure our progress and target our further policies and actions. My Department is examining the current reporting arrangements with a view to ensuring that the best possible data is available to support policy making. No decision has been taken on amending the existing arrangements at this stage.