My Department’s role in relation to homelessness involves the provision of a national framework of policy, legislation and funding to underpin the role of housing authorities in addressing homelessness at local level. Statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of homeless accommodation and related services rests with individual housing authorities.
The long-term solution to the current homelessness challenge is to increase the supply of homes. Accordingly, the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness is designed to accelerate all types of housing supply; in particular, it seeks to increase the delivery of social housing by 50,000 units over the period to 2021.
Also contained in the Plan is a cross-Government action to ensure that young people leaving State care and at risk of homelessness are identified and catered for through appropriate housing and other supports appropriate for their needs. My Department will allocate specific funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme for the accommodation needs, while the health and independent living supports will be provided by the HSE, Tusla and expert NGOs.
In October 2017, I established an Inter-Agency Group on Homelessness. The group's function is to bring about greater coherence and coordination in the provision of homelessness related services across the relevant Government organisations, including health and social care supports, welfare, employment and social protection supports, family supports as well as housing and emergency accommodation services.
To achieve this, the Group is considering the respective roles and responsibilities of all the organisations involved, including funded service providers, in the delivery of homelessness related services. I expect to receive the Group's report shortly and will consider it without delay.