Housing needs for people with mental health difficulties are considered in the national housing strategy for people with a disability. The strategy sets out the Government’s framework for housing delivery for people with disabilities and it was developed in conjunction with the Government’s mental health policy, A Vision for Change.
Flowing from the strategy, local authorities have been mandated to set up housing and disability steering groups that are tasked with achieving a co-ordinated and integrated approach to meeting the housing needs of people with a disability, including mental health difficulties. The Housing Agency is also developing a manual to assist local authority staff to support people with mental health difficulties to access housing.
Over the last number of months, the Minister, Deputy Murphy, and I have visited a number of new social housing developments, recently in counties Meath, Kildare, Clare and in Tralee, which have made provision for those with special housing needs. Some very successful projects have been brought forward by those local authorities. The developments have been designed around the needs of people with mental health needs, sensory issues and acquired brain injuries.
Not all people with mental health difficulties require a specific type of housing but, in many cases, social care supports are required to assist with adjusting to independent living, which includes issues such as maintaining a tenancy. Together with the Department of Health, my Department currently co-funds a national tenancy sustainment programme to assist persons with mental health difficulties in the transition from HSE facilities into mainstream social housing to maintain their tenancies.
The national strategy for people with a disability will be reviewed in 2020 and housing for people with mental health difficulties will again form part of the considerations in that review. I hope this is useful to the Deputies.